March 26th, 2004

Cruel and Crazy

Your task for today, as it's Friday - tell your friends.

You may have seen news stories, or news stories commenting on news stories, about some implausibly 'intelligent' software which runs as a chatbot and detects paedophiles 'grooming' children in chat rooms.
See here for a sceptical take on it, pointing out that if the articles are true it would suggest someone working on their own has produced something that would be a good contender for the Loebner prize.

Your task for today, therefore, is to convince someone in the mainstream media that this chap's network has been hacked by evil paedophiles, and the software stolen and repurposed to automatically 'groom' children on chatrooms. The new software is called 'AutoGroom'.

A token prize will be given to anyone who convinces me that they have succeeded in fooling the media. On the assumption that it is slightly easier to Photoshop a news story than to fool a journalist (though only slightly), I will be verifying claims. In the even of multiple claims the winner will be chosen based on the reach / prestige of the media outlet and the implausibility of the news story. A special bonus prize will be awarded to anyone who can work in the phrase 'cruel and crazy' for reasons some of you, certainly Mr Snips, will understand.