If you surf the web to any extent, you’ve inevitably noticed how the bottomless pit that is human stupidity presents itself there. Well, let’s remedy that with a bit of artificial intelligence. The StupidFilter is an absolutely brilliant project that aims to create an open-source filtering mechanism for stupid comments online.
The solution we’re creating is simple: an open-source filter software that can detect rampant stupidity in written English. This will be accomplished with weighted Bayesian or similar analysis and some rules-based processing, similar to spam detection engines. The primary challenge inherent in our task is that stupidity is not a binary distinction, but rather a matter of degree. To this end, we’re collecting a ranked corpus of stupid text, gleaned from user comments on public websites and ranked on a five-point scale. [StupidFilter About page]
So basically, you’ll be able to set the bar for how stupid or naive comments can sound. (I’m guessing bar-one will be YouTubian-like “ur fkn asshat! LOLZ!!!PO!!OP1!”). In a CNNmoney interview with the project’s leader, Gabriel Ortiz, a basic use-case scenario is described: “If cnnmoney had the filter installed on its servers, it would intercept the comment just before it was published and flash a little alert at the author that reads: “This comment is more or less unintelligible. Please try to restate it.“.
It sounds pretty elegant and I look forward to seeing how well it works. The project is in a design and analysis phase and an alpha release is planned for December. The core code is intended to be integrateable into standard content management platforms, but additionally they intend to release WordPress and Firefox plugins which will probably arrive at a later date. If all goes as planned and described, you can be fairly certain the plugin will be put to the test here on Think Artificial (it’s only appropriate, considering the blog’s focus!).
Be sure to check out their FAQ, it’s pretty funny — including golden answers such as this one:
Q: Do you really expect to be able to detect and filter anything that’s conceivably stupid?
A: No, of course not. You’d need real AI for that, and beyond a certain point it’s simply subjective; after all, a sufficiently advanced AI would probably filter out the whole of human discourse, which isn’t the idea.
As mentioned in the description I quoted from their about page, a method of training the engine to recognize stupid comments is ranking them on a scale from 1-5. They pull comments from YouTube and then have human moderators rank stupidity. If you want to help speed the project along, you can apply to become a moderator of the stupidity corpus.
Links and References
- StupidFilter Project Home
- CNNMoney interview with Gabriel Ortiz
- Bayesian spam filtering on Wikipedia
- The StupidFilter reminds me of the Religious Speech Sensor