Vox Political Apologises! Owen Smith Did Not Buy Twitter Supporters

Yesterday I put up a piece from Mike, over at Vox Political, who reported that Owen Smith’s Twitter storm of supporters over the weekend weren’t genuine supporters, but people, whose support he’d purchased from various dodgy internet companies. For a moment, it looked like Smiffy had resorted to the same tactics other dodgy individuals use to buy ‘likes’ on Facebook. Now Mike confesses that he was wrong, and duly apologises. But this doesn’t make Smiffy look much better.

Mike quotes James Earley, an expert on such matters, who says that the messages of support Smiffy got didn’t actually come from any human supporters whatsoever. Nor any mechanical supporters either. They came from bots, programmes set up to spam accounts and redirect their readers to specific websites. To get past the spam filters, these programmes are disguised as humans, and monitor and alter their messages according to whatever’s being discussed on the Net, so that it looks like it might just be from a human. Earley states that mostly, these programmes are entirely unconvincing, but very occasionally, they are good enough to fool you into thinking your dealing with a human on the other end of the line.

This is what appears to have happened here. The tweets Owen Smith had from followers giving their support weren’t from him or his supporters,but were from daft computer programmes instead, trying to get you to follow them to buy, well, if it’s the usual rubbish that gets caught in the spam filters, it’s knock-off watches, Viagra and penis enlargement.

Correction: Pretence of support for Owen Smith WASN’T from purpose-built Twitter accounts; it’s WORSE than that!

This sort of makes Smudger look a bit better than the previous story, as at least he wasn’t buying votes, even if the support he got was nevertheless still fake. But he still isn’t any more popular.

As for the bots, I really do wonder what Alan Turing would make of these machines. Turing was the pioneering computer scientist, who designed the famous test to see if a computer was genuinely intelligent. He ruled that if you were linked to a computer through a teleprinter, and held a conversation with it through a keyboard, but could not tell whether or not you were communicating with a machine or a real person, then the computer had shown that it had real artificial intelligence.

In fact, the Turing test fails as an indicator of genuine intelligence of the part of the machines. They are programme to respond in certain ways, and give answers that simulate intelligence, but the computers themselves have no understanding really of what they’re saying. It’s just automatic mechanical functions. I wonder, however, if the great man would have also been dismayed by the fact that the simulation of intelligence modern machines were being given, weren’t to push forward the frontiers of science and the scientific and philosophical understanding of intelligence, reason, and sentience, but to sell people tat. It’s like finding out that someone really has built an army of Terminators, but instead of lethal killing machines, they’re all dodgy spivs. ‘I’ll be back…with the dodgy Viagra knock-offs.’

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7 Responses to “Vox Political Apologises! Owen Smith Did Not Buy Twitter Supporters”

  1. Jeffrey Davies Says:

    Owen hay you woulfnt credit him with that savvy but hes good for taking the cash thats a fact but then turin hmm these procesors are just gate ways with switches that turn on and off with the software that drives them i wonder if i could have a new brain perhaps thats the future for dementia sufferers

    • Beastrabban Says:

      Owen Smith is indeed good for taking money, but I think you’ll have to wait a long time before computers come anywhere close to replacing the human brain. They’re more complicated than the most sophisticated computer, even the ones with dementia.

  2. joanna Says:

    That is why I detest life, Alan Turing was used , spat out and treat like crap!! what good is an apology and a posthumous pardon? It’s not like he is here to know it or even accept it.
    As for Mike, so he made A mistake, Smith and his ilk, deliberately set out to ruin anybody to get them out of their way! I’m not saying two wrongs make any right, but Smith should look at himself and suck it up!!!

    • beastrabban Says:

      Yes, Jo, life can be terribly unfair, and Turing suffered horribly for what is no longer a crime, except to the bigoted. And you’re right, he can’t benefit personally from his exoneration. However, the apology and pardon, while it can’t bring him back, are a recognition that his treatment was unjust. It won’t bring him back, but it’s better than nothing, and certainly better than carrying on as if his sentence was just, and perpetuating that part of the iniquity.

      But I absolutely agree with you about Smiffy. He really does need to suck it up, as do the rest of New Labour. Unfortunately, they’re too arrogant to recognise they’re in the wrong on this one.

  3. joanna Says:

    Someone once said to me, “if we never made mistakes, then how can we ever learn from them”?!!!

    It also takes a good person to own their mistakes, please tell Mike that.

    • beastrabban Says:

      Definitely, Jo!:) But if I know Mike, he’s probably less embarrassed by the fact that he made a mistake, then by the fact that whatever Smiff says, he’s still incredibly unpopular and the only things that support him are internet programmes like something straight out of the Matrix films. But without Keanu Reeves, of course.

  4. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

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