Wikipedia and AI

On: January 8, 2007
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About Michael Stevenson
I am a lecturer and PhD candidate in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. I've been a contributor to Masters of Media since 2006, though I now only post occasionally. A short list of papers and projects can be found here


Lately I’ve been looking at the possibility of using Wikipedia’s interlinking to study collective memory – seeing what associations are made and so on. Here’s an article about using similar techniques to make computers smarter. For example, with anti-spam technology:

This shallow understanding is what makes an e-mail spam filter block all messages containing the word “vitamin,” but fail to block messages containing the word “B12.” “If the program never saw “B12” before, it’s just a word without any meaning. But you would know it’s a vitamin,” Markovitch said.

“With our methodology, however, the computer will use its Wikipedia-based knowledge base to infer that “B12” is strongly associated with the concept of vitamins

But the makers are also interested improving intelligence work – if this is done, it will be worth asking if linking practices on wikipedia generate ‘an impoverished database’ in the sense that Mark Poster used the term…

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