California Institute of Technology doctoral candidate in computation and neural systems Virgil Griffith created WikiScanner, software that reveals who has made edits to a Wikipedia entry. Griffith says he developed WikiScanner to create minor public disasters for organizations after seeing that members of Congress were hiring staffers to monitor and clean their Wikipedia pages.
Currently, Griffith is working on the Tor2Web project, based on Tor, which enables Internet users to access Web sites anonymously. Tor has a very obscure feature that allows users to host a site within Tor itself. For example, if a user is on Tor and wants to access a Web site that is not on Tor, the feature "anonymizes" the connection. Griffith says the system is the online equivalent of meeting in a dark alley.
Griffith also is working on developing conscious machines that can feel, which he says is the reason he is in graduate school. "We are machines that can feel," he says. "Machines that can feel technically are just like us, but better understood." Griffith says he spends most of his time doing theory work on trying to quantify the complexity of neural systems.
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