Larry Hosken: New: Link: My Secret Identity Revealed on CPedia

The folks at the Cuil search engine have a new way of presenting their data, Cpedia. Instead of the stereotypical list-of-ten-results, they construct an encyclopedia article. Where by "they", I mean AIs. The result is pretty interesting. However... the model doesn't work so well for topics that don't have much information on the web. E.g., I tried ego-searching myself. CPedia tried to put together a few articles about me, artificial-intelligently combining some stuff it found on the web. Here's the start of the article it had the most confidence about:

John T. Reed makes 6 figures a year selling his own books. So he [Larry Hosken] sells about 4000 books a year.

Split over 30 titles, that's at least 133 copies per title, and indeed, he tells you to expect sales of between 100 and 1500 copies per book per year. This by the way explains why all his [Larry Hosken's] books are 8x10 ". No. Maybe it's obvious, but things like sizing decisions are important, so why not spend some time discussing it?

So it has a sentence that seems to be about John T. Reed, but my name's inserted in square brackets. Thus, John T. Reed's secret identity is revealed: it's me! Or maybe John T. Reed is my secret identity. Or... Wait, if I had a secret identity, I think I would have noticed it before now. This article would be a very impressive feat of information combination and summarization... uhm, if it had found something true instead of... well... confusing me with John T. Reed.

I guess that Cuil's crawlers found a few copies of Piaw Na's review of John T. Reed's Self Publishing book. But the AIs parsing that page didn't figure out that "John T. Reed" was so important—those must have just been some random words tossed into the article title. Obviously, this article is about Larry Hosken, mentioned in the "Other Interesting Blogs" of the sidebar.... uhm, yeah.

That's the great thing about AI: even when it doesn't work, it's funny.

Tags: link programming
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