Bots Influencing Life

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Social bots can shape public opinion

Mexico and Turkey are two cases where bots have been used especially widely.

Where they work the best is in sowing confusion or choking off a political conversation on a global issue that involves an authoritarian government. So bots are quite active in Russia, and part of an overall successful regime strategy to muddy issues and sow misinformation.

At the beginning of the Syrian civil war, when journalists and interested publics outside the country were trying to find out what was going on in the country, the regime used bots to flood the #syria hashtag and kill it as a source of information about the resistance.

Are bots a danger to democracy? Is a future possible where elections will be won by the party with superior bots? Not very likely. Our society established norms about what kind of bots it will be ok to deploy – or not. For instance, if a candidate is suddenly caught with an army of bots, this is something that society will punish.

On the other hand, candidates that use bots in a more sophisticated way to communicate better with the electorate could well be rewarded, she added. “It is more about being able to use social media to enable back-and-forth collaborations between candidates and citizens,” Savage said.

There have been created bots that help activists mobilize citizens and involve them in political campaigns; for example, crowdsource ideas. A bot can go out and find people that are, say, complaining about corruption. And the bot can ask them, how can we fight corruption?

Although automated, bots have a bright future. Bots can leverage a large number of people on social media platforms. So you don’t have to wait for people to download your app, you instantly have access to a large pool of people.

After crowdsourcing ideas, a bot could then facilitate a vote by the newly recruited volunteers about the best idea, and finally also help with implementation.

As for your business? how a-Bot you?

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