Okay so, do you think you can write good enough to fool the best computer software? Can you write anonymously without being detected? It seems that in the near future, it may not be possible – you see, software engineers have devised several methods for fishing out the exact author of the piece based on the author’s style. This means that writing something online anonymously is going to be impossible in the future, worse, if you previously wrote something and used a fake name, it’s going to be obvious that you wrote it. Okay so, let’s talk shall we?
There was an interesting post on Slashdot – News for Techy Nerds on December 16, 2012 titled; “When Writing, How Anonymous Can You Be, Really?” by Timothy, the tech guru who replayed a post from an anonymous poster which stated;
“Do you still think your online writing is, basically, anonymous? Think again! Research has it people put much of their personal traits into their writing, and computers may just be able to pick them up. That’s at least what a recently announced competition on author identification (Given a document, who wrote it?) and author profiling.”
It turns out they can basically figure out your approximate age, and if you are male or female in less than 400 words with extreme accuracy. And now, apparently they have been working on an algorithm which can detect plagiarism too – this makes sense because if they can predict your age, and when you wrote it based on the language, they can determine if you let’s say lifted it from the encyclopedia or an article written many years the prior.
How do I feel about this as a writer you ask? Well, good question and thanks for asking as I’ve now written more than 28,650 articles online, and thus, know a thing or two about writing online you see. Personally, I do not write anything using a pseudonym, internet handle, fake name, or online identity so, I am not so concerned, but I realize others might be, especially in nations with problematic regimes who censor and punish writers for what they write.
Next, I worry that since this technology and software now exists, it can be used to create articles, writings, and online posts using a certain writer’s style even if they didn’t write it. Why would someone do that? In order to character assassinate them later for political reasons in the media or perhaps to give some authority a reason to monitor them, put them on a watch list, get a court ordered permission slip to collect their personal data.
You see, those in control will use the same tricks of the trade that the dark side of the web will use to promote chaos. Further, the cunning writers of misdirection will use these same types of algorithms to tweak an article into some real anonymous style, thus, making the “style identification” algorithms and software obsolete in the future. Okay so, that’s all for now, but please consider all this and think on it.