Social Media Bots

Social media bots are a form of artificial intelligence that simulates human behavior in order to interact with the world, the same way an actual human would online. Social bots are capable of maintaining a digital footprint, stay up to date with current events and even share personal information about themselves. How easy one can create a social bot is shown by Lutz Finger in this video.

Social media bots are created primarily to influence, shape and manipulate human perception.  They are particularly useful in the areas of marketing, politics and military propaganda. In 2011, Ntrepid, a software developer secured a $2.76 million contract from the American military for building a so called “persona management software”.

While the context of the agreement were classified, it’s speculated the deployment of these bots would be used by the military to influence worldwide perception of the American Government.  David Petraeus, a retired American military officer and public official was quoted in The Guardian as saying this software is used to “counter extremist ideology and propaganda and to ensure that credible voices in the region are heard”

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