October 19th, 2007 SkyHorse
A year ago I came across some interesting statistics available through Google Trends showing, for example, how Pakistan lead the league table on the search for “sex” and “terrorism”. A year on I decided to revisit and see how the world changed (or not!).
Last year we saw Pakistan topping the country ranking on the search for “sex”. This year, however, Google seems to be censoring them, because they do not show on the list at all, even when you look for historical data for the same period last year.
Also interesting the same censoring seems to be happening with “Iran” as they were 3rd last year and no where to be seen this time around. Egypt and Viet Nam now take first and second place. India increased from 6th to 3rd and Turkey raised from 9th to 4rd place. For the first time the Central and Eastern European regions showing on the top 10 with Poland and Romania making an entry in 5th and 6th place respectively. Interesting…
Not many changes here. Pakistan still tops the list followed by the Philippines with Singapure, Australia and India swapping places with each other to make the top 5. UK and US still show decent interest, no surprises here.
Pakistan once again vanishes from the top 10. Are they no longer interested in Education or is the Google search historical data being censored again? New Zealand makes a strong climb to number 2 and South Africa disappears from the top 10 completely.
New Zealand must have found all the money it wanted because it is no longer number 2, not even making an appearance on the top 10. UK, Australia and the US still lead the table quickly followed by Canada and India similar to was it was a year ago. Sweden drops from the table giving place to Italy to make, just about, in number 10.
Interesting. The UK drops significantly from number 1 to number 5, leaving Australia, New Zealand the US as the top 3 and Canada as number 4, up 2 from number 6 last year. Finland finally shows in the top 10 and passes Sweden making it to number 6.
South America and “Christianised” countries still dominate the top 10 table in search for spiritual enlightenment, with the perhaps surprising entry to numbers 9 and 10 of the UK and Sweden.
The US ban on online poker surely makes a difference in search frequency, as it did to players. It dropped from number 5 to number 10, with the Scandinavian countries surely dominating the top places. The UK follows the US trend and drops to number 9 whereas France moves from 10th to 4rd (if you’re looking for fish, make it poisson!)
June 6th, 2007 SkyHorse
new poker AI bot in the making…
Hurwitz and Tshilidzi Marwala, also at Witwatersrand, have developed a virtual player that has taught itself to bluff at a card game called lerpa. Their artificial intelligence bot, named Aiden, is based on a neural network algorithm that usually forecasts stock market fluctuations.
Crucially, Aiden was not pre-programmed with the rules of lerpa. Instead, Hurwitz and Marwala allowed Aiden to play against three “dumb” virtual players that made choices entirely at random. Aiden was dealt his cards and told which of these could legally be played for each hand. At first he was almost too smart for the task. For the first 40 hands he wouldn’t play, then he tried one hand and lost. This proved so much of a setback that he refused to play again.
Hurwitz then changed tactics, giving Aiden no choice but to play the first 200 hands. Aiden then began to infer the rules of lerpa by treating his cards, his opponents’ actions and his own win-lose history as parameters to learn from. At this stage, though, he still wouldn’t bluff.
Then the researchers decided to play Aiden against three other similarly trained bots to see what would happen. “They began to develop their own personalities – either aggressive or conservative – depending on their past successes,” Hurwitz says. After a streak of being dealt bad hands and consistently folding, one of the more aggressive players, Randy, suddenly changed tactics and began to play even when he had poor cards – he began to bluff. Aiden, a more cautious player, responded by tending to fold even when he held a relatively strong hand (www.arxiv.org/abs/0705.0693).
“Randy suddenly changed tactics and played poor cards. He began to bluff”
“This demonstrates that computers can learn this peculiarly human behaviour,” says Philippe de Wilde, a computer scientist at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK. “They generate the strategy from play, which is a very human way of learning.”
May 28th, 2007 SkyHorse
Sign the petition to ask No. 10 to allow Poker to be played in a regulated and safe environment in private members club, such as our favourite Gutshot Club in London.
Your vote counts!
October 15th, 2006 SkyHorse
Earlier in May this year Google quietly lunched a new addition to their collection of online tools, which already include a word processor and a browsable maps of Mars, called “Google Trends“. “See what the world is searching for” they have it for it’s punch line so that’s exactly what I did. And awe the results!
So let’s get started with the obvious so they all get out of our enquiring minds before getting down to the real thing:
In terms of quantity, it remained the same since 2004, so we looking for “sex” on google as much as we were back then. The interesting part is the geographical regions:
And here is my first surprise. The USA is not the top region in the world quering for “sex”. Not even the second. Heck, it doesn’t even show up in the top 10! No sir, top regions are, in fact, Pakistan, Egypt, Viet Nam and Iran. It could be a statistical blip, but why would these regions be looking for “sex” more than anywhere else in the world? Could it be the fact that sex, like many other “liberal” subjects, is tabooed in these places? If so, does it mean the oh so great Internet is really opening the window and borders of the world, like the media pitches it to be?
Now here’s an interesting trend: The United States is number 6 and United Kingdom number 8. Canada and Sweden barely make it to the top 10. Is the western world really not that bothered about terrorism? Could it actually be affecting more the Muslim world than it is the Western world as we tend to believe? Pakistan, again, makes it to number one with more than double the searches as region number two, the Philippines. Is Pakistan so worried about terrorism? Or so misinformed about it at home that it’s citizens look for answers on the Internet?
And here it is, Pakistan leading the race with more than double the queries for “education” as the second region, India. Philippines follows with South Africa a close fourth.
Could it be another statistical blip? Why would Pakistanis and Indians search for “education” more than all the other top 10 regions combined? Are we seeing a trend that we search for what we do not have at home? Or on the other hand is it for things we care about? Does this mean the Pakistani/Indian region is showing an overwhelming craving for education?
It is official, the United Kingdom leads the world when it comes to searching for money. India appears fifth, the only Asian country to be in the top 10. And I thought they were all spirituality and all… New Zealand takes second place with the United States coming right on queue in third place followed by Australia and Canada. Is Western society really so much more concerned about money than the rest of the world?
The usual suspects: United States, New Zealand and Australia are in the top 4, which is lead by South Africa. Interesting seeing Finland and Sweden in the top 10, so much for the Scandinavian peace…
Interestingly, the trend for “bombs” closely mirrors that of “weapons”…
A nice keyword with fresh new countries showing up. Heavily dominated by Latin-American countries, “religion” seems to fit their culture and life-style, possibly why it is reflected in what people search for in that region. Colombia, Chile, Philippines, Mexico and Peru lead the table with the United States and Canada making a shy appearance. They obviously care more about religion than the rest of us…
With the United States ban on Internet Gambling (poker included) most online poker sites have closed or are in process of closing their US operations. Interestingly, it is Europe who leads the queries for “poker” on google, with Sweden, Denmark and Norway making the top 3 table. Not quite surprising, if you are a regular online poker player.
To finish this off I will leave here some interesting stats on how keywords compare against each other, that is, how much more people look for “sex” than for “religion”…
christianity islam judaism hinduism
education money sex religion terrorism