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Agents of History: Autonomous agents and crypto-intelligence

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Abstract:

World War II research into cryptography and computing produced methods, instruments and research communities that informed early research into artificial intelligence (AI) and semi-autonomous computing. Alan Turing and Claude Shannon in particular adapted this research into early theories and demonstrations of AI based on computers' abilities to track, predict and compete with opponents. This formed a loosely bound collection of techniques, paradigms, and practices I call crypto-intelligence. Subsequent researchers such as Joseph Weizenbaum adapted crypto-intelligence but also reproduced aspects of its antagonistic precepts. This was particularly true in the design and testing of chat bots. Here the ability to trick, fool, and deceive human and machine opponents was a premium, and practices of agent abuse were admired and rewarded. Recognizing the historical genesis of this particular variety of abuse can help researchers develop less antagonistic methodologies.

Keywords: AGENT ABUSE; AUTOMATA; CHAT BOTS; CRYPTOGRAPHY; SCIENCE STUDIES; TURING TEST

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/is.9.3.03geo

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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