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What are robots doing looking at the forums?

  1. Oct 29, 2016 #1
    So I was looking through who is active at the moment on the forum and came across this:

    Robot: Google AdSense

    I was curious what a robot could be doing looking into "Best Physics book"--I think that was the post it was "looking" at.

    Anyone have any ideas? haha
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2016 #2

    fresh_42

    Staff: Mentor

    On third position out of 700,000 results:

    Untitled.png
     
  4. Oct 29, 2016 #3
    hmmm so they're just programs generating searches. I see haha
     
  5. Oct 29, 2016 #4

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    AdSense robot is not collecting data for search results, but checking the page content to choose relevant ads that are displayed on the page.
     
  6. Oct 29, 2016 #5

    jtbell

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    Staff: Mentor

    Right now I see robots from Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu and Yandex, all of which are search engines.

    I also see one from Proximic, which appears to be similar to Adsense, but for a different company.

    And there's Majestic-12, which collects and sells data about links etc. to website operators, for search engine optimization.

    I didn't go through the whole list, so there are probably other individual bots, but those cover the major categories, I think.
     
  7. Oct 29, 2016 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Preparing for the upcoming Robot Apocalypse.
     
  8. Oct 29, 2016 #7

    Ibix

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    Science Advisor

    Presumably they don't post because "Can u help me kill all humanz plz?!!!??" got them banned under the dangerous activities rules.
     
  9. Oct 30, 2016 #8

    OCR

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    Hah !! [COLOR=#black]...[/COLOR]Let em' come... I've got one of my own.[COLOR=#black]..[/COLOR] :devil:

    Maybe a bunch more, too... but I ain't sayin' ! [COLOR=#black]..[/COLOR] :olduhh: [COLOR=#black]..[/COLOR] :oldtongue:

    F4-motion.gif
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016
  10. Oct 30, 2016 #9

    jtbell

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    Staff: Mentor

    Of course, the black-helicopter bots (NSA, CIA, M12, KGB, UNCLE, SMERSH, KAOS et al.) don't identify themselves. :oldwink:
     
  11. Oct 30, 2016 #10
    They used to be called web crawlers originally, which seems an apt enough description of what they do.
    I don't know why this changed to 'robots', but I think it's less descriptive, and invokes images of humanoid machines with highly advanced AI.
    In fact they are just software routines running on servers and are not even vaguely intelligent, they just look at web pages and return information about the content.
     
  12. Oct 30, 2016 #11
    One can broadly describe robots as entities, bolts bits or otherwise, that respond to environments autonomously based on programmed rules or scripts. When one mentions robots in a factory context for example it can certainly imply vast complexity of sensing and control, however AI advanced or otherwise need not enter the picture outside of futuristic fiction plots.

    Perhaps it's for the better that we dropped the relatively innocuous label "web crawler" and replaced it with "robot" as it reminds us of the more abstract and potentially threatening nature of these particular whirls of code.
     
  13. Oct 31, 2016 #12

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    I say we go all the way and call them "meatsack destroyers". This is no time for half-measures!
     
  14. Oct 31, 2016 #13
    Sounds ok to me. When should we all change the filename on web servers to meatsack-destroyers.txt?
     
  15. Nov 1, 2016 #14

    Borek

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    Staff: Mentor

    Even without changes to the robot exclusion standard it should be doable with a HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently.
     
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