The Alterhuman Media Project

"Machine Subjectivity:" The Life and Times of Internet Bots

Internet bots are ubiquitous, from algorithm-run Twitter accounts to chat server assistants and web crawlers racking up page-views. We are more or less familiar with what they do- performing basic tasks online. But have we stopped to really consider what they are? Last year, experts gathered at a Data Society workshop to do just that.

Their conclusions? Bots aren't just inert programming carrying out functions; they have a rich societal context, and even a unique umwelt, or way of experiencing and interacting with their world. Given that so much discussion of artificial intelligence seems to focus on how robots measure up to humans, this series of articles was a nice change of pace; trying to understand bots in their own contexts, as non-human actors with "lives" all their own.

How to Think About Bots

This "Botifesto" by multiple authors focuses on the moral and legal implications of bots' semi-autonomous nature.

What is it like to be a bot?

Samantha Shorey considers the enchantment of human actions, and the worldview of bots.

On Paying Attention: How to Think about Bots as Social Actors

When is a speed bump like a bot? When they both affect social behavior, m.c. elish suggests.

Our friends, the bots?

Bot-creator Alexis Lloyd encourages us to think about the uniqueness of "machine subjectivity."

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