automated online debaters
I was at a meeting in the CIRLinC research group today, discussing our application to be a centre of excellence on the circulation of narratives about climate change, and was fascinated by Helge Drange‘s stories of the automation of climate change debates online. There’s actually a Twitter bot, @AI_AGW, that automatically finds tweets from climate change deniers and tweets counter-arguments with links to scientific sources. Here’s an example:
I asked people on Twitter whether they have other examples of automated discourse engines (or is there a better term?) and Tama Leaver instantly responded with a mention of Jason Mittell’s McLuhan bot, which I must have missed when I was on leave.
Jason built @AutoMcLuhan thinking of a wonderful scence from Annie Hall where Woody Allen, annoyed at a fellow movie-goer’s pontification about McLuhan, actually pulls the real McLuhan out from behind a sign to contradict the pontificator. Read Jason’s blog post, and watch the clip from Annie Hall!
Of course, AutoMcLuhan really isn’t very smart. It always replies “You know nothing of my work! You mean my whole fallacy is wrong”, whatever the person mentioning McLuhan said. Magnus Holm sent a tweet linking to a couple of other similarly simplistic bots: @BorgCollective and @beinspace, but as he says, neither is very smart. In fact, all @BorgCollective seems to do is send random tweets to random people with statements such as “YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED” or “EVERYTHING WE SAY MAKES SENSE” whenever somebody mentions the Borg on Twitter. @beinspace reacts to any mention of the word “space”, it seems but most of its reponses are non sequiturs with no real connection to the tweet they’re responding to. It does seem to respond to direct questions much as a classic bot does.
Do you know of any other interesting twitter bots, or research on them and their effect on online debates?