Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Automated rudeness

The Register describes an experiment in which a computer picks on volunteers. Experimental subjects play "catch" in an online ballgame, and are told the other participants are also humans. Actually, though, one is just a computer, and at a set point the computer starts ostracize the volunteer, preferring to throw to other players. Apparently this is a pretty traumatic experience. The volunteers' brains light up in the anterior cingulate, an area associated with distress, when the computer starts playing its little mind games. No word yet if you can actually hear a snicker from silicon-based life.

Following an unfortunate round of post-experiment downsizing, the computer found work at this food court .

Subscription link is here , and a possibly free link (Science 2003) is here. You'll have to wait for those fries, though.

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