[Funny] Even Clippy can be blamed on the use of non-Bayesian methods

by lukeprog 1 min read2nd Oct 201146 comments


From this 2001 article:

Eric Horvitz... feels bad about [Microsoft Office's Clippy]... many people regard the paperclip as annoyingly over-enthusiastic, since it appears without warning and gets in the way.

To be fair, that is not Dr Horvitz's fault. Originally, he programmed the paperclip to use Bayesian decision-making techniques both to determine when to pop up, and to decide what advice to offer...

The paperclip's problem is that the algorithm... that determined when it should appear was deemed too cautious. To make the feature more prominent, a cruder non-Bayesian algorithm was substituted in the final product, so the paperclip would pop up more often.

Ever since, Dr Horvitz has wondered whether he should have fought harder to keep the original algorithm.

I, at least, found this amusing.