STATES CHRONICLE – Wikipedia’s software robots are in a constant and silent war, battling against each other. Wikipedia is known to be the fifth most popular website. Since its launch back in 2001, the site developed to have 40 million entries. What we did not know is that behind all that free data offered to every internet user, there is a bot war going on.
A new research meant to evaluate the first ten years of Wikipedia had indicated that many software robots are involved in an ongoing fight over articles, continuously reconsidering each other’s edits. These software bots are editing algorithms which are working based on artificial intelligence. They are fighting for supremacy, contradicting each other in a fight to have the last word.
Taha Yasseri, a scientist from the University of Oxford in the UK, argued that these arguments between software robots may last a lot longer than we might expect it. If humans stop fighting after a few days, these AI-powered algorithms may continue arguing about the same topic for years on end. Yasseri and her colleagues have registered all the edits that appeared on Wikipedia from 2001 until 2010.
Since the quantity of bot activity in Wikipedia had decreased in recent years, it has increased when the software technology and platform have improved. Software robots are in charge of only 15% of all edits that occur across the language editions of the 2014 encyclopedia. Moreover, these AI-powered algorithms make up approximately 0.1% of all editors of Wikipedia.
These editing robots enable many roles which have to do with editing the content of Wikipedia. Their responsibilities include automatically adding new content, creating links, checking spelling, undoing vandalism, and enforcing bans. These software robots are meant to be generous, sustaining all Wikipedia users and also collaborating with them.
However, two such robots, namely Darknessbot and Xqbot have contradicted and edited each other’s ideas on a broad range of topics of about 3,600, ranging from Alexander of Greece to Aston Villa football club. Somewhere between 2009 and 2010, Xqbot was responsible for reverting more than two thousand edits of Daknessbot.
Nevertheless, Darknessbot did not back down and reverted approximately 1,700 edits of articles pertaining to Xqbot. Another similar example is the one where Russbot and Tachikoma undone about a thousand edits made by the other.
Image courtesy of: wikipedia