“Is it Art? (@IsItArtBot)” and “Why Can’t We Date? (@WhyCantWeDate)” by Patrick Rodriguez

These two bots generate responses to questions that have such subjective answers that no number of responses can really satisfy anyone, but do so in thought-provoking and amusing fashion.

 Is it art? @IsItArtBot  Yeah, but is it art?  twitter.com/LightAesthetic
Open “Is it art? (@IsItArtBot)” by Patrick Rodriguez

“Is it art?” explores the challenge to the art world posed by the readymade Dada sculpture “Fountain,” attributed to Marcel Duchamp. His gesture of sending a standard urinal to be displayed in galleries as an art object, with a title and signed “R. Mutt” was very controversial and provoked questions about the nature of art. This bot is on an endless rant on the artistic or not artistic nature of different things, making statement such as:

The bot seems to be simple enough, choosing one of several template sentences, pulling a noun from an online dictionary API, maybe filtering the results for sensitive language, and tweeting the generated statements every four hours. Because practically anything can be posed as art (or not-art) the results are surprisingly amusing and thought-provoking. And because the statements are made to sound so subjective and opinionated without supporting arguments, they produce an instinctive response in which we agree or disagree with the bot’s voice. To follow this bot is to subscribe to a series of little tests of one’s concept of art, the result of which may expand your concept of art, or at least provoke some thought on the nature of artifice.

 Tweets Following Followers 2,440 0 45 Why Can't We Date? @WhyCantWeDate  It's not you. It's me. I promise.  Boston · twitter.com/lightaesthetic Ivy Fae Scott McNally Bot Enforcer Bot БooДооЧеловек  Followed by Ivy Fae, Scott McNally, Bot Enforcer Bot and 5 others.      Why Can't We Date? ‏@WhyCantWeDate 2h      I donʼt date guys who arenʼt totally eastern, sorry not sorry.     Details     Why Can't We Date? ‏@WhyCantWeDate 10h      Sorry, I found someone else. Someone more submissive.
Open “Why Can’t We Date? (@WhyCantWeDate)” by Patrick Rodriguez

“Why Can’t We Date?”  generates excuses for not dating by using a similar engine as “Is it art?” but inserting adjectives into the templates. The output is a litany of generally absurd excuses for not dating, often resulting in humorous non-sequiturs:

Occasionally the results hit closer to home:

Other results suggest narratives:

And sometimes they feel a bit like a Dear John letter:

Because the bot is always addressing a man, it provides a neat interrogation of masculinity and what it means to be a relationship worthy man. While the results are random and and often absurd, it can provoke some self-reflection about qualities one might have that one might not have considered could be deal-breakers. Of course, one shouldn’t dwell too much on such things, especially since the bot’s description (“It’s not you. It’s me. I promise.”) reveals the truth of the matter: that these kinds of statements might as well be randomly generated because for whatever reason, it’s just not there. Reasons are secondary in something as completely subjective as attraction at the dating stage of a relationship.

And if you follow this bot on Twitter for a while and it doesn’t follow you back, don’t worry: It’s not you.

Featured in Genre: Bot