The algorithm of Netflix

I’m speechless

A.I. service-bot wackiness, pt. 14

Ask Jeeves is a singularly useless search engine, in my experience. I realize this is partly because Ask Jeeves wasn’t really created for people like me. I’m comfortable writing Boolean queries and crafting stupidly precise search strategies; Ask Jeeves, however, was created for newbies who their computer to talk like a human.

An incredibly weird human, mind you. Natural-language-parsing being what it is, Ask Jeeves functions less like an intelligent, nuanced human and more like a computer programmed by Jacques Derrida. The replies can be so strange that the wits at SatireWire recently decided to conduct an “interview” with Jeeves; the screenshots are here, and this is a sample:

Thanks for being with us today, Jeeves. How are you?

What day is it?

It’s Monday.

Monday again?

Yes, they do tend to recur. As often as once a week. What’s wrong with Mondays?

What’s Wrong with Garbage Disposals?

I don’t know. They grind things …

Back to … The Grind.

A joke. Go it. How … human.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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