Bytes: What’s new in tech
Undetectable fake reviews
Fake reviews written by artificial intelligence could be a “major threat” to sites like Yelp and Amazon, said Rob Price in Business Insider.com. Researchers from the University of Chicago have developed AI-powered software capable of writing “extremely believable” online reviews that are virtually indistinguishable from human-authored ones. Sample fake reviews were created via a neural network trained using thousands of real online reviews, and contained specific recommendations and believable backstories (“I went with my brother and we had the vegetarian pasta and it was delicious.”) The research team said their experiment shows that a site like Yelp, which “sells itself on the reliability and helpfulness of its reviews,” is uniquely vulnerable to AIgenerated evaluations, which could undermine public trust in online reviews and news.
No swiping necessary
Dating platform Tinder has launched a new money-making feature: letting users pay to see who likes them, said Natt Garun in TheVerge.com. The app rose to the No. 1 spot on the App Store’s top-grossing chart a day after introducing its new tier, Tinder Gold, which allows users who pay $4.99 a month to see the profiles of other users who have already swiped right on them. Until now, users could only see matches if both parties had swiped right to like each other. Tinder, which has 100 million users, has previously experimented with other paid features, including the ability to boost your profile’s visibility.
A surprising alliance
Amazon and Microsoft have formed a “rare partnership,” involving their voice-controlled AI assistants, said Nick Wingfield in The New York Times. The tech giants revealed last week that they have coordinated “behind the scenes” over the past year to ensure that their digital assistants, Alexa and Cortana, can communicate with each other. The alliance will allow people to “summon Cortana using Alexa, and vice versa.” The market for AI assistants has surged, and Apple, Google , Amazon, and Microsoft have each released their own version. Alexa and Cortana are at a disadvantage, however, because they lack Apple and Google’s phone platform. Amazon and Microsoft say their collaboration makes sense, since “each assistant has unique strengths that could benefit the other.” Users of the Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo, for instance, will now get fast answers about their Microsoft Outlook calendar. ■