A technology blog for The Economist Group IT team

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

aIQ or Computers and pawn

[From Jerem]

In the past few years, an astonishing number of companies have appeared in response to the growing problem of unsolicited commercial email, more commonly known as spam.

These companies offer hardware solutions (CipherTrust), software solutions (SpamAssassin, McAfee SpamKiller, Brightmail, Cloudmark, MailFrontier), block lists (SpamCop) and managed services (MailProtector, Postini, MessageLabs, BlackSpider) just to name a few.

There was one company, however, that didn�t fit so neatly into the typical categories. Corvigo, based in California, is pushing a technology called Intent Based Filtering (IBF). Rather than heuristic or Bayesian analysis, the engine behind IBF is artificial intelligence. An appliance sits at the gateway of the network, scanning incoming email as a person would for the types of words and phrases that make spam easily identifiable to the human eye. There is nothing to be configured and no updates to be installed. The system allegedly learns on its own.

This kind of unproven technology would be too risky for an organization like ours, but it will be interesting to see where Corvigo goes.
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