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Tweeting the good tweet
November 4, 2010 12:21 PM   Subscribe

"Tired of arguing with climate change deniers in 140 character quips, [programmer Nigel Leck] wrote a script to do it for him. Chatbot @AI_AGW scans Twitter every five minutes searching for hundreds of phrases that fit the usual denier argument paradigm. Then it serves them up some science." (via by way of via)
posted by m0nm0n (57 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is truly, unequivocally awesome.

Would be even awesomer if I thought there was a snowball's chance in greenhouse-effected hell that anyone tweeting climate denial horseshit would actually take the time to read the relevant science and allow their minds to be changed, but even as a symbolic gesture and a spanner in the denialist works, I love it.
posted by gompa at 12:25 PM on November 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Eventually the climate change deniers will write their own AI bot and, well... I think you can imagine what happens next.
posted by hincandenza at 12:26 PM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you want a picture of the future, imagine a climate change denier AI-robot yammering 140 characters of inane horseshit — forever.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:29 PM on November 4, 2010 [16 favorites]


Eventually the climate change deniers will write their own AI bot and, well... I think you can imagine what happens next.

I'm way ahead of ya, pal.
posted by Avenger at 12:29 PM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Similarly, there's counterwording which automatically corrects phrases like "ground zero mosque."

Also, try mentioning Jerry Seinfeld on Twitter.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:31 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, what would dueling twitter-bots look like? If they dueled long enough would they eventually develop some kind of rudimentary sentience?
posted by Avenger at 12:31 PM on November 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Climate Crock Sacks Hack Attack: The Wrap

Glad to see Variety has gotten into the science game.
posted by JHarris at 12:31 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


By using the graphic of HAL 9000, perhaps the AI bot writer foresaw that the bots might take charge...
posted by Cranberry at 12:32 PM on November 4, 2010


Also, what would dueling twitter-bots look like?

Like this, with the same end result
posted by Adam_S at 12:34 PM on November 4, 2010 [26 favorites]


Also, what would dueling twitter-bots look like? If they dueled long enough would they eventually develop some kind of rudimentary sentience?

If you think high-frequency trading is bad, just wait until you see high-frequency tweeting!
posted by FishBike at 12:36 PM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


gompa: I read that as "and a spanner in the dental works". One can dream.
yes i am a bad person
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:37 PM on November 4, 2010


I'm not sure that climate change will actually cause the extinction of the human race.

Let me have my fantasy:

I imagine these two bots continuing to go at it in a nuclear powered underground bunker long after the earth has become uninhabitable.

Ideally they would be slowly printing out miles of dot matrix paper.
posted by poe at 12:38 PM on November 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


YEAH..THAT'LL LEARN 'EM!! In yer face!
posted by spicynuts at 12:40 PM on November 4, 2010


Hmm, it's cute, isn't this really a form of spam? I think advertisers would love this.

What's going to happen in a few years when people develop 'targeted spam' bots that profile people based on their posted stuff and spam them with stuff they might be more interested in? Could be disastrous, especially if people can't figure out a way to stop it. But even if they do stop it it would mean reducing the openness of the web.
posted by delmoi at 12:40 PM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hacker News take: "Like Clippy for the internet"
posted by jessamyn at 12:40 PM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure that climate change will actually cause the extinction of the human race.

I don't think anyone seriously thinks that AGW will cause the extinction of the human race, rather it will just cause a lot of economic damage by flooding former cities, ruining crop land, etc.
posted by delmoi at 12:42 PM on November 4, 2010


I think dueling twitter bots would actually look like this
posted by ghharr at 12:44 PM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Man... That brought me to this, which made me yet more depressed about the election...
posted by inigo2 at 12:49 PM on November 4, 2010


> Hmm, it's cute, isn't this really a form of spam? I think advertisers would love this.

Imminent death of the tweet predicted
posted by jfuller at 12:49 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've had tweets of my own 'rebutted' by right-wing accounts that I'm positive were bots, so they already have the technology and are using it, they just aren't fessing up to it. (I suspect that half the #tcot accounts belong to three-or-four former "Digg Patriots"... the Teabaggers did get credited for "better use of social media" in the election campaign).
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:50 PM on November 4, 2010


If you want a picture of the future, imagine a climate change denier AI-robot yammering 140 characters of inane horseshit — forever.

I think we'll have that over the next two years... only it won't be limited to 140 chars and it'll be called the House of Representatives.
posted by edgeways at 12:50 PM on November 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


In a competitive global economy, there are people who will choose not to take any serious action on climate change even if they actually do recognize that such change is taking place. If you are more environmentally responsible than your competitors, that may only mean that your competitors will undersell you and drive you out of business.

Of course, the sooner we take action about climate change the more effective our action can be, which is why waiting for catastrophic climate change to take place is not really the best policy from the perspective of the future of humanity. But that is probably the policy that we are going to have, even if politicians understand the reality of climate change. The public will really get behind climate change issues once they are of obvious and catastrophic magnitude.
posted by grizzled at 12:51 PM on November 4, 2010


Try mentioning Annyong on Twitter.
posted by joannemerriam at 12:54 PM on November 4, 2010


I like this and I like "via by way of via".
posted by kenko at 12:57 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't understand this FPP. Where is the bot "serving them up some science"? This just looks like a linkfarm to a bunch of pseudoscience.
posted by crapmatic at 12:58 PM on November 4, 2010


Very cool, except it seems to target a few tweeters who tweet about climate change as a reality, not a myth. It's bound to cause some hurt feelings when it tweets its counter-tweet at the original tweeter.
posted by krysalist at 1:01 PM on November 4, 2010


Looking at what it's replying to: way too many false positives.
posted by LSK at 1:02 PM on November 4, 2010


Eventually the climate change deniers will write their own AI bot and, well... I think you can imagine what happens next.

As I tweeted earlier, "Some day, all of our conflicts will be decided by proxy through Twitter bots. Like a much lamer version of Robot Jox."
posted by brundlefly at 1:02 PM on November 4, 2010


Just today, I mentioned Joel Rosenberg novels in a TWURT, and this Christian Bookstore bot was all, "You should buy a copy of The Twelfth Imam!" and I wanted to be all, "UH HELLO DUDES I AM NOT A CRAZY RAPTURE-FIEND, I WAS TALKING ABOUT THE GUY WHO WRITES ABOUT DRAGONS", but there's just no arguing with a bot.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:03 PM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was on a really long train ride not long ago, and had a good conversation with an older guy who was quite reasonable except for a kind of deep-seated suspicion of academic science; as a part of this, he had apparently bitten off some of the climate-denier propaganda. I simply explained to him that the 'dissenting' scientists are about five in number, and each paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by companies with names like Exxon. And that the strategy of these companies has been to create the illusion of controversy in order to avoid making changes to the way they do business. I got the strong sense that he hadn't been exposed to this line of thought before, and I think it made at least a bit of a dent in the armor....

As with any political work, I think changes in peoples opinions are most likely to occur through thoughtful one-on-one conversations, not robo-spam. Indeed, probably the biggest impediments to building consensus are lack of time and fear of confrontation.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:04 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


and btw we are too late to stop climate change, the best we can do currently is mitigate the effects. But somehow I don't think the global governments are actually going to do anything terribly significant (certainly not the US). We will just have to adapt, perhaps have a significant die-back of humans and many other creatures. No wild polar bears. Make no mistake, we will survive, perhaps humanity will even thrive in some manner, but things are going to be significantly different, and even then some will say it was all natural, or that it was god's will, or some equally bullshit fount of crap.
posted by edgeways at 1:07 PM on November 4, 2010


...
I don't understand this FPP. Where is the bot "serving them up some science"? This just looks like a linkfarm to a bunch of pseudoscience.

And to prehistoric man our cell phones just look like magic boxes to the gods. If you don't see where/what the bot does then maybe it's not the bot, it's you.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:08 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm not sure how much help a thing like this is. Two of my Facebook friends posted the old saw about Lee Marvin calling Mister Rogers the greatest hero of WW2. I sent both of them the debunking page from Snopes. One of them ignored me, and the other responded with "Are you calling Lee Marvin a liar???"

Sometimes there's no fixing it...
posted by Billiken at 1:15 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Man... That brought me to this, which made me yet more depressed about the election...

"In the attempt to indoctrinate the world to accept man-made global warming, its proponents have increasingly turned away from hard science and resorted to crude and self-defeating propaganda. As we have repeatedly highlighted, eco-fascism is bearing its teeth and in doing so revealing the true agenda behind the global warming movement – micro management, authoritarian control, and eventually genocide of the human population."

"Genocide of the human population?" Seriously? Al Gore wants to kill everyone on Earth? How you could attempt a good-faith discussion with anyone that ignorant is beyond me.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:19 PM on November 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Two of my Facebook friends posted the old saw about Lee Marvin calling Mister Rogers the greatest hero of WW2

Wasn't that Captain Kangaroo?
posted by brundlefly at 1:27 PM on November 4, 2010


(Not that there can't be two similar myths floating around.)
posted by brundlefly at 1:28 PM on November 4, 2010


Billiken: "Yeah, I'm not sure how much help a thing like this is. Two of my Facebook friends posted the old saw about Lee Marvin calling Mister Rogers the greatest hero of WW2. I sent both of them the debunking page from Snopes. One of them ignored me, and the other responded with "Are you calling Lee Marvin a liar???"

Sometimes there's no fixing it..
"

I know a guy in LA who claims he stumbled upon Lee Marvin in a bar in the 80s. They ended up getting drunk together and got so rowdy they were thrown out of the bar. Lee Marvin had to go to the bathroom but they wouldn't let him back in, so he just dropped trou and took a shit in the parking lot.

...So we'll always have that Lee Marvin anecdote.
posted by sharkfu at 1:29 PM on November 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


+++ Denied climate change. Felt like digitized Arthur Frayn +++
posted by anigbrowl at 1:31 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Avenger: Also, what would dueling twitter-bots look like? If they dueled long enough would they eventually develop some kind of rudimentary sentience?

A.L.I.C.E. vs. Fake Kirk
posted by carsonb at 1:33 PM on November 4, 2010


Maybe he got his inspiration from one of our oft quoted sources. Let's hope that the bots don't metastasize.
posted by LD Feral at 1:39 PM on November 4, 2010


41,000 tweets - the attention footprint of this thing is out of control. Luckily, OBAMATRON is doing its best to stop this beast.
posted by partywithoutboundaries at 1:41 PM on November 4, 2010


And that the strategy of these companies has been to create the illusion of controversy in order to avoid making changes to the way they do business. I got the strong sense that he hadn't been exposed to this line of thought before

What did he, sleep through the entire "cigarette smoke causes cancer" thing?
posted by Gelatin at 1:54 PM on November 4, 2010


Wasn't that Captain Kangaroo?

There's a Bob Keeshan legend floating around too, also debunked by Snopes. Bob was a Marine, but he was too young to serve in WW2.

Oh, that was sarcasm? You didn't use the sarcasm tag.
posted by Billiken at 1:55 PM on November 4, 2010



Would be even awesomer if I thought there was a snowball's chance in greenhouse-effected hell that anyone tweeting climate denial horseshit would actually take the time to read the relevant science and allow their minds to be changed


This. Fred over at Slacktivist had a good post on this a couple of days ago.
Standout observations:
Someone who has arrived at their current stance due to something other than facts will not likely be persuaded to budge from it due to the facts...For them, finding their way back to the truth will require retracing the steps that led them away from it.
He categorizes those who are not merely misinformed as either liars, or the deluded, and his focus is on the latter group:
In general, most of these involve some model or construct -- religious, superstitious, ideological, economic, academic, conspiratorial -- that cannot adapt to unwelcome facts and thus provides various mechanisms for avoiding or denying them.
Which I think is perceptive.
posted by longtime_lurker at 1:56 PM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Borked the link.
posted by longtime_lurker at 1:57 PM on November 4, 2010


No, not sarcasm. I hadn't heard the Mister Rogers version. Although it seems more realistic, as Mister Rogers is a hero of everything.
posted by brundlefly at 1:57 PM on November 4, 2010


No, not sarcasm. I hadn't heard the Mister Rogers version. Although it seems more realistic, as Mister Rogers is a hero of everything.

If it makes you feel better, Dr. Ruth really was an Israeli sniper.
posted by Rangeboy at 2:14 PM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, what would dueling twitter-bots look like?

I don't know what it'd look like, but my stupid brain supplied the soundtrack, it's Dueling Banjos as performed by birds going "tweet" (possibly robot birds, at that).

AND IT'S STUCK IN MY HEAD NOW!!
posted by quin at 2:17 PM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


The word "roads" was in one of my tweets, once. I got a twitter-bot response from @Doc_Brown saying "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads!"

I was thoroughly amused.
posted by jabberjaw at 2:36 PM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Speaking of which, I used the word "SEO" in one of my tweets once.

Once.
posted by brundlefly at 3:15 PM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Soon enough Twitter will evolve into IRC.
posted by benzenedream at 3:30 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


DOODZ STOP MAKING FUN OF B1FF!!!!11
HE IZ A AWSUM KOOL HAKER WHO KNOE STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:35 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


+++ Denied climate change. Felt like digitized Arthur Frayn +++

I don't quite get the joke, but mighty Zardoz demands that I favorite it.

All this makes me wonder how hard it'd be to write a "secret word" bot named Pee-Wee Herman.
posted by JHarris at 3:41 PM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I miss Julia.
posted by Zed at 4:03 PM on November 4, 2010


All this makes me wonder how hard it'd be to write a "secret word" bot named Pee-Wee Herman.

Do it.

I'd follow you. @PeeWeeHerman_SecretWord, mayhaps?

PeeWeeHerman_SecretWord: Hey, @jabberjaw_mefite: You said the secret word! AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!
posted by jabberjaw at 6:10 PM on November 4, 2010


I was joking with friends about denialist stuff and the bot gave me a link - just proves that you can't detect sarcasm very well on the internet.

Treehugger.com says that a lot of the false positives showing up now are people who heard about it via PopSci and are testing it out of curiousity.
posted by harriet vane at 12:31 AM on November 5, 2010


I'm not a climate-change-denier. But I am a climate-change-denier-tweet-bot-responder-denier.

Automating the conversation is far too passive aggressive.*

* Full disclosure: This comment posted by @MeFiTrollBot
posted by blue_beetle at 5:25 AM on November 5, 2010


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