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Image Bots

Why did this hap­pen now? We’ve had update_with_media on Twitter via the API since August 2011, so you could upload pic­tures for a long time. We got a rich pho­to expe­ri­ence” in September [2013]. […] But the short answer is I don’t know why we’ve had this capa­bil­i­ty for a year and nobody’s done any­thing with it until now in terms of trans­form­ing image bots.

Bot Culture and the Myth of the Wacky Inventor

The point being that this isn’t just some ran­dom thing about Rube Goldberg machines, it’s also about changes in art. It’s a broad pat­tern that hap­pens when­ev­er there’s a major tech­no­log­i­cal shift, at least for the last hun­dred years. You get these use­less machines that self-justify.

Reverse Engineering Netflix

But most inter­est­ing was just going bonkers with this data in gonzo mode” and incor­po­rat­ing as much as pos­si­ble: Viral Plague Sci-Fi Movies Based on Children’s Books Set in Europe for Ages 8 to 10; or First Love Slice of Life Musicals Set in Europe From the 19820s For Hopeless Romantics; Bounty-Hunter Fantasy Movies Based on Books About Cats.

Fun With Corpora Manipulation

I guess the two ques­tions that I ask myself when I’m mak­ing a bot are what resources and cor­po­ra should I use, and how can I manip­u­late this in inter­est­ing ways to come up with tweets that are more sig­nal than noise. A lot of the time it’s actu­al­ly real­ly hard to gen­er­ate lan­guage that is sig­nal and not noise. And I aim to get a lot of sig­nal in my bots.

Twitter Bots and Fair Use

I made a bot called @corruptum, and he uses a lot of copy­right­ed con­tent in his cor­pus, so I was won­der­ing whether it was legal and whether its use qual­i­fied as Fair Use.

The Lonely Project

You don’t know who they are. It gives you no han­dles, no iden­ti­fy­ing infor­ma­tion, no loca­tion. All you know is they’re typ­ing in English and that is how they’re feel­ing at this gen­er­al moment in time. And then it just sends them this tweet. It’s one tweet over and over again: Someone over here want­ed you to know that you’re not alone.”

Protest Bots

I wrote a let­ter to my local rep­re­sen­ta­tive, and he wrote me back and it was this boil­er­plate of all this bull­shit. So I was read­ing it and just men­tal­ly cross­ing off line after line of bull­shit, so I decid­ed to make a bot that does that for me. What it does is it goes into an API that lists mem­bers of Congress and their Twitter accounts, picks one at ran­dom, picks their most recent tweet, and it retweets it but replaces a cer­tain per­cent­age of all the char­ac­ters of that tweet with black or gray rec­tan­gles so that the remain­ing amount of let­ters that you get to actu­al­ly read is equiv­a­lent to the cur­rent lev­el of Congress’ approval rat­ing, which I get from The Huffington Post’s API.

Bot Activism Through Tools Instead of Content

So what I did was I made a pret­ty pow­er­ful anti-harassment tool, and I’m kind of leery of… It’s one of those things that like I, I feel weird about it because I don’t have a tremen­dous use for it myself, but I know that oth­er peo­ple do. And I’ve talked to peo­ple about this, and I sort of made the deci­sion not to put it on Github or be pub­lic about it for main­ly the rea­son that I think Twitter is kind of weird with harass­ment, and I think they’re weird with block­ing, and I think they have a strange track record of mak­ing the tools that are use­ful to peo­ple who are try­ing to pro­tect them­selves and be safer sort of weird­ly hard­er to access and kind of obscure.

@congressedits: Politics + Wikipedia + Twitter = ?

I think there’s a set of bizarre indi­vid­u­als in the Capitol build­ing that once they real­ized that @congressedits was there and had a lot of fol­low­ers, they were adding these crazy things to Wikipedia. So in this case somebody’s say­ing Rumsfeld was an alien lizard.

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