Damn Autocomplete

Last Updated on: 27th December 2016, 10:23 am

I have a friend who went on an autocomplete nonsense texting rampage earlier this year simply because it seemed like a fun idea. I hope he sees this and decides to take it to the next level. Just remember who to thank when you get all famous and stuff, dude.

A nonsensical academic paper on nuclear physics written only by iOS autocomplete has been accepted for a scientific conference.
Christoph Bartneck, an associate professor at the Human Interface Technology laboratory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, received an email inviting him to submit a paper to the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics in the US in November.

“Since I have practically no knowledge of nuclear physics I resorted to iOS autocomplete function to help me writing the paper,” he wrote in a blog post on Thursday. “I started a sentence with ‘atomic’ or ‘nuclear’ and then randomly hit the autocomplete suggestions.
“The text really does not make any sense.”

Just how much sense doesn’t it make? Well, if the title “Atomic Energy will have been made available to a single source” doesn’t make it clear, have a look at this sample from the abstract.

““The atoms of a better universe will have the right for the same as you are the way we shall have to be a great place for a great time to enjoy the day you are a wonderful person to your great time to take the fun and take a great time and enjoy the great day you will be a wonderful time for your parents and kids.”

And the conclusion.

“Power is not a great place for a good time.”

To make sure it looked super duper authoritative and professional, he took the time to paste in the first picture from Wikipedia’s nuclear physics entry.

Happily, all his hard work paid off. His paper was approved three hours after he submitted it and he was asked to register as a speaker…for the nominal fee of $1099.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. I don’t know who was the first to do it, but in the last few years a number of stories have come out about people writing gibberish generating programs or typing nonsense phrases over and over in order to expose conferences and journals that are out to get people to pay registration and publication fees rather than to improve the quality of the world’s knowledge. My favourite example of this phenomenon is actually mentioned in the article on this latest one. Journal accepts bogus paper requesting removal from mailing list, in which computer scientist Dr Peter Vamplew submitted a paper entitled Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List consisting of nothing but those words and a few diagrams.

To answer the question I know you’re all asking, no, they haven’t.

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