One of my favorite articles is Cobot in LambdaMOO: A Social Statistics Agent. After people complained that the robot was learning about the community but not giving back, it was programmed to answer questions about the statistics it gathered. Things spun out of control because people found out that they were less cool than their friends. Competition ensued. It’s a classic case of why statistical information about social hierarchy is not always so good for community or relationships.
I thought of Cobot when i saw AIM Fight, a service that lets you put your AIM account in against your opponent’s to find out who has a higher score (a.k.a. popularity rating). So what are you going to do about your coolness score?
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