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Fake Accounts On Social Media Now Able To Copy Human Behaviour

Fake accounts enabled by Artificial Intelligence (AI) on social media have evolved and are now able to copy human behaviour

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fake, media, behaviour, artificial intelligence
Social Media Icons. VOA

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have found that bots or fake accounts enabled by Artificial Intelligence (AI) on social media have evolved and are now able to copy human behaviour to avoid detection.

For the study published in the journal First Monday, the research team from the University of Southern California examines bot behaviour during the 2018 US presidential elections compared to bot behaviour during the 2016 US elections.

“Our study further corroborates this idea that there is an arms race between bots and detection algorithms. As social media companies put more efforts to mitigate abuse and stifle automated accounts, bots evolve to mimic human strategies. Advancements in AI enable bots producing more human-like content,” said study lead author Emilio Ferrara.

fake, media, behaviour, artificial intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) on social media have evolved and are now able to copy human behaviour to avoid detection. Pixabay

The researchers studied almost 250,000 social media active users who discussed the US elections both in 2016 and 2018 and detected over 30,000 bots.

They found that bots in 2016 were primarily focused on retweets and high volumes of tweets around the same message.

However, as human social activity online has evolved, so have bots. In the 2018 election season, just as humans were less likely to retweet as much as they did in 2016, bots were less likely to share the same messages in high volume.

Bots, the researchers discovered, were more likely to employ a multi-bot approach as if to mimic authentic human engagement around an idea.

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Also, during the 2018 elections, as humans were much more likely to try to engage through replies, bots tried to establish the voice and add to the dialogue and engage through the use of polls, a strategy typical of reputable news agencies and pollsters, possibly aiming at lending legitimacy to these accounts.

In one example, a bot account posted an online Twitter poll asking if federal elections should require voters to show ID at the polls. It then asked Twitter users to vote and retweet.

“We need to devote more efforts to understand how bots evolve and how more sophisticated ones can be detected. With the upcoming 2020 US elections, the integrity of social media discourse is of paramount importance to allow a democratic process free of external influences,” Ferrara said. (IANS)

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Horror Movies Manipulate Brain to Enhance Excitement: Study

Know why people get goosebumps while watching horror movies

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Horror Movies
Finnish researchers mapped neural activity as study participants watched horror movies, and found that our brains are continuously anticipating and preparing us for action in response to threat. Pixabay

Do you know why some people like to watch horror movies like ‘The Conjuring’ despite the scare and frequent shouting episodes? If we ask researchers, this is because scary flicks manipulate brain expertly to enhance excitement.

Finnish researchers mapped neural activity as study participants watched horror movies, and found that our brains are continuously anticipating and preparing us for action in response to threat.

“Horror movies exploit this expertly to enhance our excitement,” said researcher Matthew Hudson from University of Turku, Finland.

People found horror that was psychological in nature and based on real events the scariest, and were far more scared by things that were unseen or implied rather than what they could actually see.

Horror Movies
People found horror movies that were psychological in nature to be very interesting. Pixabay

The researchers first established the 100 best and scariest horror movies of the past century and how they made people feel.

Firstly, 72 per cent of people report watching at last one horror movie every six months, and the reasons for doing so, besides the feelings of fear and anxiety, was primarily that of excitement.

“Watching horror movies was also an excuse to socialise, with many people preferring to watch horror movies with others than on their own,” the findings showed.

While all movies have our heroes face some kind of threat to their safety or happiness, horror movies up the ante by having some kind of superhuman or supernatural threat that cannot be reasoned with or fought easily.

The research team at the University of Turku, Finland, studied why we are drawn to such things as entertainment?

People found horror that was psychological in nature and based on real events the scariest, and were far more scared by things that were unseen or implied rather than what they could actually see.

The team discovered two key findings.

“The creeping foreboding dread that occurs when one feels that something isn’t quite right, and the instinctive response we have to the sudden appearance of a monster that make us jump out of our skin,” said principal investigator Professor Lauri Nummenmaa.

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During those times when anxiety is slowly increasing, regions of the brain involved in visual and auditory perception become more active, as the need to attend for cues of threat in the environment become more important.

“After a sudden shock, brain activity is more evident in regions involved in emotion processing, threat evaluation, and decision making, enabling a rapid response,” said the researchers. (IANS)