Inferring Authorship (Part 2)

Now that we’re up to speed on the classic author ID problem (who wrote the unsigned Federalist Papers?), we move onto a couple more contemporary examples. First, J.K. Rowling was famously outed using computational linguistics (and Twitter) when she wrote a book under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Second, we’ll talk about a mystery that still endures--who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Satoshi is the mysterious person (or people) behind an extremely lucrative cryptocurrency (aka internet money) called Bitcoin; no one knows who he, she or they are, but we have plenty of writing samples in the form of whitepapers and Bitcoin forum posts. We’ll discuss some attempts to link Satoshi Nakamoto with a cryptocurrency expert and computer scientist named Nick Szabo; the links are tantalizing, but not a smoking gun. “Who is Satoshi” remains an example of attempted author identification where the threads are tangled, the conclusions inconclusive and the stakes high.

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