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Robots of the internet are “fighting” on Wikipedia

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Could you imagine that on Wikipedia and on the Internet are not just people that fight and disagree but also software robots (bots)?

And yet that is precisely what happens, according to a new British scientific research that highlights the problem. On the surface, Wikipedia’s “waters” are peaceful, but underneath a raging battle of people and non-humans exists about the content of the most popular electronic encyclopedia in the world.

According to the Athenian News Corp, the bots behave much more humanly than they would have expected, since they are published into the cyberspace, leading to battles between them, about what the Wikipedia entries should write.

Researchers at the University of Oxford Institute for the Internet and the Alan Turying Institute, headed by Milena Tsvetkova and Tasha Yaseri, who published the publication in PLoS One, studied the behavior of software robots and how they interact, either because of their original design, or by their own initiative thanks to their artificial intelligence.

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Scientists have focused on “good” bots that have been used for years with a good purpose to improve Wikipedia content by “clearing” it from vandalism and mistakes, automatically importing new information, identifying copyright infringements, and so on.

The study, titled “Even the good bots are cracked”, included Wikipedia editions in 13 languages ​​over a decade. The basic finding is that, although bots are not made by malicious creators, they not only interact with each other but are involved in chronic disagreements with unpredictable consequences. one the content that the other has added to an entry or the links under the entries.

Although autonomous bots algorithms are only 0.1% (one in a thousand) of Wikipedia authors, their influence is much greater because a large percentage of the interventions and corrections are due to these programs.

The study found that the German version of Wikipedia is the one with the fewest bot fights between the bots, while the Portuguese with most, with English somewhere in the middle. The issues of the wars between the bots are varied, from the Arabic language to the quantum natural Nils Bore and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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One of the toughest battles took place between two bots, Xqbot and Darknessbot, between 2009-2010, which covered 3,629 different entries, from Alexander the Great to the British football team ‘Aston Villa’. Xqbot extinguished over 2,000 fixes made by Darknessbot and the latter backed off by extinguishing over 1,700 changes that had brought the first to Wikipedia content.

“We found that bots behave differently in different cultural environments. We need more research on bots’ sociology, “Cvetkov said.

“Just because bots are created by people from different countries and cultures when they meet on the Internet alone, this can lead to unexpected misunderstandings and conflicts. While battles between people may catch up after a few days, bots can continue for years, “Yaseri said.

This, according to the researchers, is a warning for those who use artificial intelligence to create autonomous vehicles, autonomous cyber-security systems, and so on. As they point out, the online world tends to turn into a “bots ecosystem”, but our knowledge about it is rather poor.

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