Thursday, November 19, 2020

Apparent SEO hacking has popularized a suspicious Barack Obama "biography" at Amazon

Slate looks at "Barack Obama Book: The Biography of Barack Obama"

Thanks to sponsored listings and canny search-engine optimization, the book appears above Barack Obama’s actual memoir if you search Amazon for—you guessed it—“barack obama book.”

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Is Barack Obama Book written by an AI, or just by an awkward, occasionally confused human? I’m no expert. But the Giant Langage Model Test Room is an expert. GLTR, a tool developed by Harvard’s natural language learning project and the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, helps to identify AI-written copy by comparing every word in a text to the words that common machine-learning algorithms would commonly predict would appear in that position. The more uncommon or unlikely the words in a text are, the more likely they were written by a human, not by a machine.

I fed a paragraph from Barack Obama Book into GLTR. It’s about Obama’s 2011 decision to launch a raid on the compound where intelligence suggested Osama bin Laden might be hiding. In this GLTR result, words highlighted in green and yellow are very common machine-language choices, while words highlighted in red and purple are uncommon.