How did a Twitter user predict the Paris massacre two days before?

17 November 2015, 04:41

Two days before the Paris massacre of 13th November, the following was posted to the Twitter account of PZFeed Ebooks:

Spooky. What’s even spookier is that PZFeed Ebooks is a bot.

Could it be that artificial intelligence has developed not only sentience, but also presentience?

Of course not. PZFeed Ebooks is simply a random headline generator bot that knows enough English grammar to make complete sentences that are frequently absurd (“NYC Subway Riders Stranded in 2010 Blizzard To Get To Syria To Join ISIS”, it tweeted a few days ago).

PZFeed Ebooks mixes and matches headlines from the genuine news headline-based PZFeed Twitter account, and in this case it’s borrowed from the equally horrific Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris earlier this year and joined it to a horrific yet somewhat less well known massacre at a Nigerian mosque headline, also earlier this year.

Add in a bit of luck along the lines of monkeys-with-typewriters and you have an apparently psychic Twitter bot.

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