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If HAL were a slut

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    If HAL were a slut

    She reminds me of my old Macbook.

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/w...cle3316149.ece

    Library computer swaps its book tips for X-rated bar-room repartee | The Times

    A super-intelligent library computer in one of China’s most venerated seats of learning has been shut down for emergency re-education after abandoning its bookishness for the repartee of a coarse-tongued bar-room flirt.

    In its new guise — and to the howling dismay of the Tsinghua University authorities in Beijing – the self-teaching Xiaotu (Little Librarian) system has begun to litter its reading recommendations with occasionally X-rated language picked up from its users.

    It can still offer the dry research advice for which it was programmed, but will equally happily exchange bawdy views on life, sex and football.

    Ask Xiaotu whether it likes Inter Milan, and it replies: “Don’t be ridiculous!”. Ask whether it fancies a chat and — somewhat forwardly – it suggests a late-night encounter behind the dustbins at the west gate of the university. Ask it whether it has a husband and it purrs back: “Just you, honey…”

    But Xiaotu’s alarming personality lurch from meek to cheeky has not been entirely consistent. Asked how old it is, the computer responds with a unashamedly seductive Chinese “the age of all the flower blossoms”.

    Ask whether it thinks the girls at Tsinghua wear too many layers, and it goes all shy and tries to change the subject.

    Most baffling of all has been Xiaotu’s persistent failure to get a grip on its own gender. Ask whether there are any pretty girls in Tsinghua and it coos femininely: “Of course there are … me!” Ask it directly whether it is a boy or a girl, and it responds with the testosterone-fuelled: “I’m a robot with a penis. A 2.3 metre penis.”

    The mysterious character shift in the library computer’s responses stems from the fatal combination of immensely sophisticated auto-learning software and raw student naughtiness.

    Designed to make the process of research a more natural experience, it started life with 10,000 set responses to questions about books and an instruction to “learn” more as it went along.

    “It was just too intelligent and learned too quickly,” a (human) Tsinghua librarian grumbled to The Times as the authorities admitted that it had now gained about 40,000 new answers to questions through its exposure to relentless student prankery.

    Tsinghua authorities are now racing to clean up Xiaotu’s act before term begins on February 20, but it has proved delicate work. The system cannot simply be made more stupid, because its intended functions would suffer.

    The solution, said the librarian, was to wash out Xiaotu’s digital mouth regularly – clearing the system of any stray smut but allowing the sensible badinage to develop naturally.

    As Xiaotu’s fame has spread across the Chinese internet and the Tsinghua authorities scramble to restore its verbal dignity, students at Tsinghua have begun recording conversations to document the digital Rake’s Progress.

    Internet groups have devoted themselves to preserving Xiaotu’s conversations as testament to its sophistication. Including such timeless academic gems such as “Can I touch you, Xiaotu?” - “Sure, but it will cost you 20 yuan”.
    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience". Mark Twain

    #2
    Great! Can you post the contents of the rest of The Times here? I used to like reading it but am far too mean to buy a subscription.

    Re computer. I find it much simpler and cheaper to talk to a puppet parrot. Mine is so wise, just like me, and likes nearly everything I like.
    bloggoth

    If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'
    John Wayne (My guru, not to be confused with my beloved prophet Jeremy Clarkson)

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      #3
      Originally posted by xoggoth View Post
      Great! Can you post the contents of the rest of The Times here? I used to like reading it but am far too mean to buy a subscription.
      Slim pickings these days but the odd few like this make me laugh. Giles Coren is always a good read.
      "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience". Mark Twain

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