Thursday, February 23, 2012

Welcome to the future of e-commerce

From a BoingBoing post on a bookseller's experience with Amazon bots competing with one another to game prices, when they run into bot-authored print-on-demand books (that are auto-compilations of wikipedia articles and the like):

let me tell you about another book, “Computer Game Bot Turing Test”. It's one of over 100,000 “books” “written” by a Markov chain running over random Wikipedia articles, bundled up and sold online for a ridiculous price. The publisher, Betascript, is notorious for this kind of thing. 
It gets better. There are whole species of other bots that infest the Amazon Marketplace, pretending to have used copies of books, fighting epic price wars no one ever sees. 
So with “Turing Test” we have a delightful futuristic absurdity: a computer program, pretending to be human, hawking a book about computers pretending to be human, while other computer programs pretend to have used copies of it. A book that was never actually written, much less printed and read.
The internet has everything.

Indeed it does.

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