I ♥ Bots

I love bots
Open “Genre: Bot

If you have been reading my daily entries on bots, and have explored the resource that compiles them, you may have noticed the great variety, sophistication, and artistry that characterizes this emergent genre. With these daily postings, I have tried to take a snapshot of a vibrant moment for this artistic and literary practice, knowing all along that it is growing too quickly to fully capture.

Every day, a new bot maker emerges from the growing talent pool of programmers, developers, and code literate people. There are more bots being created than any one person can hope to keep up with. For every entry I write, I discover 3 or 4 new bots that I want to write about. This emergent genre is increasingly attracting mainstream attention in newspapers and journals, which can only accelerate its growth.

Surely there’s a limit to the genre’s growth, you might think. How far can this go? Consider this: every figure of speech, snowclone, cliché, joke, proposition, statement, and practically every linguistic structure that can be turned into a template is easily explored with a bot. Every work of literature, every writer’s body of work, every literary movement, national literature, and textual corpus is waiting to be analyzed with a Markov chain or other textual generation technique, or simply chopped into tweet-sized portions and scheduled for broadcast on a social network of your choice. Every data stream (linguistic or not and with or without an API) can be harnessed, shaped, and incorporated into a bot’s algorithm. Social interactions, conversations, calls and responses, platform-defined  interactions (retweets, favorites, and so on) are all ready to be codified into algorithms and explored via bot. Every bot can be copied, forked, elaborated, repurposed, inverted, corrupted, improved, and can inspire the creation of dozens of new bots. They already have– @everyword continues to inspire spinoff bots. And they will continue to do so. The limits of human inspiration aren’t even a limit: @bot20130429 tweets generated or harvested ideas for bots.

More importantly, communities of bot makers continue to grow and rally under the #bot, #botALLY, and other hashtags. Tully Hansen’s round team-powered bot @botALLY retweets and tags bot-generated tweets, as does @BestOfTheBots following and curating more content than a single person can do. Stefan Hayden’s @IdeaBot searches the Twitter stream for tweets that express ideas for bots, drawing the tweeters’ attention like a specialized beacon.

Let’s face it, the bots have arrived. And they’re here to stay.

So, who wants to join me and write about bots?

They’re cool, you know.