Automatically created publications

Automatically created documents play an important role in digitalized compliance processes. Publications are also created algorithmically outside of compliance processes. A well-known example is MIT’s fake papers, which were submitted to academic journals and, surprisingly, accepted [1]. On October 8, 2019, an employee of the Springer publishing house presented the first chemistry book written by a computer at a conference in Osnabrück. The book is not fake – it is intended as a serious publication. It cost EUR 100.99 on Amazon on the day of the conference, but can be downloaded free of charge as a PDF from the Springer website. One of the attendees did exactly that and checked whether the newly appointed Nobel Prize winners in chemistry appear in the Springer book.

You can guess the result: only two of the three laureates, John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino, appear in the book. Akira Yoshino is missing; it’s not clear why. What can we learn from this? Automatically generated publications and reports are nothing more than nicely presented search results. Since search results are never perfect, neither are auto-generated publications. Nor can you expect anything new or creative from such publications. So are they useless? They can be helpful for sifting large text collections. Problems arise when, due to a lack of media competence, the results are assigned disproportionate significance. However, a creative person may well discover something new in the automatically compiled data.

Robots are also being used in journalism. The Keystone SDA copywriting robot, which is named “Lena”, described how the individual municipalities of Switzerland voted in the referenda of November 25, 2018 [3,4]. It is striking that the first six descriptions all end with “municipality XY thus voted in the same way as Switzerland as a whole – and as the Canton of Aargau”. A copywriting robot known as “Tobi” is also used in the Tamedia media group [5].

 

Links:

[1]http://news.mit.edu/2015/how-three-mit-students-fooled-scientific-journals-0414

[2] https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-16800-1#about

[3] https://www.keystone-sda.ch/lena

[4] https://www.keystone-sda.ch/mitteilungen/-/asset_publisher/4vbWh5AEPv2i/content/textroboter-lena-kommt-am-kommenden-abstimmungssonntag-erstmals-zum-einsatz/maximized

[5] https://www.tamedia.ch/de/gruppe/newsroom/medienmitteilungen/textroboter-tobi-vertieft-die-berichterstattung-ueber-die-abstimmungen-vom-25-november-auf-gemeindeebene

Complete Revision of the Federal Data Protection Act

The complete revision's draft of the Federal Data Protection Act is currently in political consultation. Data Protection is to be increased by giving people more control over their private data as well as reinforcing transparancy regarding the handling of confidential data.

Links: draft, report

Eurospider Information Technology AG
Schaffhauserstrasse 18
8006 Zürich

 

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