Robots learns how to write convincing Yelp reviews

Robots have written phoney reviews on Yelp that are so convincing they're almost impossible to distinguish from the real thing.

Scientists created this articulate artificial intelligence system to show how damaging neural networks can be if they are not monitored properly.

If an angry customer or competitor wanted to spam a page with negative reviews it seems one day they could pay a machine to churn fabricated complaints out for them.

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Researchers believe this type of AI has the ability to dramatically disrupt certain industries. For example people could pay them to write negative reviews for competitors (stock image)

Researchers believe this type of AI has the ability to dramatically disrupt certain industries. For example people could pay them to write negative reviews for competitors (stock image)

In order to test how convincing robot reviews were, researchers from the University of Chicago got 40 volunteers to see if they could tell the difference between real and fake reviews for 40 restaurants.

The neural networks were trained using a deep learning technique called recurrent neural networks (RNN).

The network learnt by reading through thousands of real online reviews.

The study concluded AI reviews were 'effectively indistinguishable' from real ones.

They were given a 'usefulness' rating of 3.15 compared to 3.28 for humans - which shows robot reviews also have the ability to influence human opinions. 

'It remains hard to detect machine-generated reviews using a plagiarism checker without inadvertently flagging a large number of real reviews,' the researchers wrote.

'This shows that the RNN does not simply copy the existing reviews from the training set.'

Researchers believe this type of AI has the ability to dramatically disrupt certain industries. For example people could pay them to write negative reviews for competitors. 

CAN YOU TELL WHICH ONES WERE WRITTEN BY A ROBOT?

Below are eight of the reviews used in the experiment -  can you tell which ones were generated by AI and which ones were written by a human?

1. Easily my favorite Italian restaurant. I love the taster menu, everything is amazing on it. I suggest the carpaccio and the asparagus. Sadly it has become more widely known and becoming difficult to get a reservation for prime times.

2. My family and I are huge fans of this place. The staff is super nice and the food is great. The chicken is very good and the garlic sauce is perfect. Ice cream topped with fruit is delicious too. Highly recommended!

3. I come here every year during Christmas and I absolutely love the pasta! Well worth the price!

4. 'I had the grilled veggie burger with fries!!!! Ohhhh and taste. Omgggg! Very flavorful!

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