Jacqueline Feldman, “Verbal Tics: As bots grow up, like us, their bugs become their features”

This bot thinks thanks to a statistical classifier that labels sentences it’s seen previously with a 1 and not a 0. It lives under the assumption that nothing will be novel, as if out of faith. It fields sentences by comparing them with those it knows, understanding phrasings using algorithms somewhat like Markov chains. Then, it assembles a response according to poetic constraints, rules and templates, or selects the best one from a list. At those moments, its fate is laid out as though it has already spoken; rather than crafting a sentence, it expresses itself by choosing a line to say from the extensive but discrete selection.

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