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June 22, 2012

Turing Tests and the Law

Robot baby quilt top by ChelseaWa, on Flickr
June 23 marks the 100th birthday of Alan Turing. In 1950 Turing, British mathematician and computer scientist, proposed in his article Can a machine think? that it would not be too long before machines could successfully imitate a human when both human and machine submit to the same test.

In 1997 the computer Deep Blue played a famous game of chess. In 2011 the Watson computer system competed in a special round of Jeopardy! These two breakthroughs garnered quite a bit of press for the high level of the game. But did you know that millions of comparisons between human and machine happen every day in tiny little games called CAPTCHAs?

Many internet users love to hate the CAPTCHA, or the Completely Automated Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Those squiggly letters and wildly gauche backgrounds have flummoxed human users even as they try to keep automated spambots at bay. Because they are used to curtail malicious software, discussions of CAPTCHAs or "Turing Tests" appear in law review articles on a variety of topics. Ticket Sniping, (8 J. Telecomm. & High Tech. L. 243) by Avi Loewenstein, discusses an online ticket seller's use of the tool, and the legal fallout when the tool failed to prevent automated purchases. In Puzzling Logic (41 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 933) Vanessa Hackett examines CAPTCHAs in relation to constituent access to legislators.

To find articles about CAPTCHAs in the Hein Online Law Journal Library, search the Law Journal Library collection for captcha? "turing test" "logic game".

While searching for law review articles about CAPTCHAs, an interesting rabbit hole opened up: artificial intelligence and the law. Patrick Hubbard ponders personhood and artificial intelligence in Do Androids Dream (83 Temp. L. Rev. 405). Emerging online entities such as avatars, software agents, robots, and other agents are examined in the article Bridging the accountability gap: rights for new entities in the information society (11 Minn. J.L. Sci. & Tech. 497).

For further research, log in to HeinOnline or LegalTrac using your library card. If you need help check out our tutorial Accessing HeinOnline from your office or home computer, or just ask a librarian. I promise we're real humans.

Photo credits: Robot baby quilt top by ChelseaWa, on Flickr

June 17, 2012

WSLL Recommends: Uniform Commercial Code Treatises

Where do you turn when researching a complicated question involving the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)? The Wisconsin State Law Library provides access to two major treatise sets on the UCC:  Lawrence's Anderson on the Uniform Commercial Code and Hawkland's Uniform Commercial Code Series. Both of these sets are arranged by article code section.

Lawrence's consists of 23 bound volumes. It provides original text and comments from the Uniform Law Commissioners and analysis of each article of the UCC. References to state case law are well organized in footnotes throughout. One volume is dedicated to local code variations for all jurisdictions. The set is updated via annual pocket parts.

Hawkland's Uniform Commercial Code is an 18-volume loose-leaf service, also providing detailed analysis of the UCC, model code, official comments and local variations. Hawkland's includes a focus on "private law conventions" which can be useful in understanding international commercial transactions in a global economy. In addition to the print set, the library provides full text electronic access to Hawkland's on Westlaw.com.

June 10, 2012

Protecting Your Privacy Online

A recent blog post by Nithan Sannappa on OnGuardOnline.gov caught my attention: Lessons from a Controversial App.

http://www.onguardonline.gov This post examined the fallout from a controversial mobile app which aggregated data from social networks and presented it in a location-aware context. According to Sannappa, "Users of the app were able to scan their surrounding area to view the profiles of men and women who were nearby, even though many of those men and women never signed-up to be a part of the service." As the blog post notes, the app was shut down by its developer. But the privacy and identity-theft prevention tips Sannappa shares are well worth reading and applying to your own social profiles.

Do you have questions about online privacy? See our Privacy and Identity Theft legal topic pages for links to  Wisconsin and Federal guides, law review articles, agencies, and more.

June 3, 2012

WSLL at Your Service: June 2012

Catch up on library news, CLE class announcements, and tips for saving time when using Internet Explorer in our latest newsletter.

Contents include:
  • What's New: Announcing our new State Law Librarian, recapping the Dane County Law Day celebration, and new classes.
  • This Just In…: New and updated books, websites, and electronic journals.
  • Tech Tip in Brief: How to add current tabs to your Internet Explorer Favorites.
  • Odds 'n' Endings: June celebrations and notable dates.

June 1, 2012

Catalog and E-Journal Access Limited Sunday Morning

The online catalog, HeinOnline, and LegalTrac will be temporarily unavailable from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, June 3rd.

Regular access will resume after 10 a.m. on Sunday morning. Thank you for your patience during this brief down time.

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