Sverker Johansson Has Contributed 2.7 Million Wikipedia Articles With The Help Of His Bot
A lot of people who have achieved great feats of accomplishment in this world have gone underrated and unheard in this world. Maybe they needed better PR or something to promote themselves.
Sverker Johansson is one of those people. Most would likely not have heard about the swede, who is the most abounding writer/contributor to the all famous online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, whom we all turn to when we have a paper due.
Johansson has contributed around 2.7 million articles to the online encyclopaedia with the help of his bot.
Now, most his work, around a third of his contributions are in Swedish which is his native tongue, and two third in Filipino — that of his wife. This would make it likely for many of us to not have come across his work.
Sporting a strong intellectual background with degrees in linguistics, particle physics, economics (Dear God, where did this guy find the time for all of that?) and civil engineering, Sverker’s work mostly contains writings on obscure animal species, which mostly revolve around Beatles and Butterflies.
He says that he has been interested in “origins of things, oh, everything.”
Despite his contributions, many still complain about his methods. He uses a computer software program, called a bot, which probes databases, collects data and then generates articles out of all the gathered information. The arguments critics throw at him are that using a bot renders human creativity useless.
Johansson says that on a good day, “Lsjbot” creates up to 10,000 new entries.
Bots have long been used to edit and author the content of articles on Wikipedia, however, their use is kept in constant check by Wikipedia users, who are called the ‘Bot approvals group’.
In a recent speech, Johansson said that there is a small minority who has voiced against the use of his Lsjbot and the use of bots for generating stubs in general.
On the other hand, Johansson says that he is doing this to create a “democracy” online. “I’m doing this to create absolute democracy online,” he said at his office at Sweden’s Dalarna University.
According to Johansson, stubs generated by his bot help other writers who have more information on each particular subject to add more content to it later on.
However, as accurate and quick as the bot is on generating the content, he admits that it is bound to give some errors in its procedure.
For example, his program only used to use content which was written in Latin. After the stub was generated and needed final touches, like a project that needed bird pictures on any other related media, the bot would turn to the Russian version of Wikimedia, which provides free pictures in the million.
However, it couldn’t read Cyrillic at that stage and gave errors. Sverker tweaked the program later and fixed the glitch.
If you want to know more about Mr. Johansson and his bot, you can read it over on The Wall Street Journal.