Analysis – Bots and Trope

The concept of Bots intrigued me on some level as I had some experience writing a computer-generated bot of sorts for one of my art class finals. A lot of work goes into writing a series of code that must operate independently or with the input of someone, generating a series of responses and effects that lend to it a sense of autonomy or a basic understanding of it.

“Real Human Praise” was the first I clicked on. It introduced viewers the idea of generating a random assortment of positive tweets and constructing them at a fast rate, making sense half of the time and others don’t. Clicking on it brings one to a suspended Twitter account (that I want to talk about later), so one must watch the accompanying video to understand how it works. A snippet of a clip shows the Twitter feed and all of its content, all tagged with #PraiseFOX.

The important thing to remember is that everything is done through Twitter, an online platform everyone has access to. It is a place of where almost every type of person occupies, sharing or arguing with others on their ideals, hobbies, news and the like. I mention arguing because Twitter is notorious for people creating something called “bot accounts” to generate false information or praise to support a claim of sorts. This made me think about the purpose of “Real Human Praise”, as it feels like a satire of this very concept. The fact that it can generate random buzzwords that read like a normal sentence, almost mirroring other bot accounts strengthen this perception I have. It is entirely experienced by visuals alone, meaning the reading of these absurd tweets is the important component. It seems almost spam-like, which might be the intention when reading the author’s statement and how it wants to flood search inquiries with this random assortment of text. It could be seen as noisy and mindless, but it speaks volumes on how a lot of people operate online because it is no different from other tweets I’ve seen.

The actual literature of the text isn’t the most important think to consider, it’s the manner of how it operates and what it says about online society. The tweets add nothing to an overall conversation, they are just random statements that anyone can stumble upon. The fact that the account is suspended says a lot on the affect it had on people, the tweets got to a point where enough people were annoyed enough that the account was reported for “violating the rules”. Is that not most of the online experience however? How is this different from buzz-word articles and twitter spams that are still prominent now?

“ROM_TXT” was next. This one I had the most interest in checking out because I was highly familiar with the concepts of ROM files, I tinkered with those files with friends all throughout high school and still do to this day. The naming convention is surprisingly similar to editing/naming documents on MAME, a software engine most commonly associated with arcade cabinets. Like the bot I observed before, it relies on the basis of randomly generated texts but the ones I found here are more chaotic in nature. It’s a series of random texts and characters placed together, all ending with the file type of a game system for classification (which is how ROM files are labeled on a computer). I’m honestly not entirely sure on what to make of the overall piece, but it makes me want to take out my Raspberry Pi3 and create my own parsed texts.

Is this meant to have a similar affect like “Real Human Praise”? It seems like most of the intention was to create twitter noise and clutter Twitter feeds who look up the posts (everything has a hashtag of a popular console name, so it would be no surprise if anyone stumbled upon these). Unlike the first bot, this Twitter account is still around so it has longevity going for it. A lot of it reminds me of these pages taken from a Raspberry Pi3 menu running RetroPie:

I had more I wanted to say about Bots, but I wanted to move onto my experience with Trope. This one I was also interested in because in some ways it reminds me of the article I am to read and dissect later in class.

Briefly reading the abstract, Second Life caught my eye. I’ve never interacted with the software, but I was made aware of it years ago when I stumbled upon a documentary about people using it, and thus I’ve always had a passing interest in learning more about it. Knowing that it played a hand in the creation of this piece made me anxious but interested in understanding it.

Tone is entirely reliant on auditory senses, almost like Noise Music. Assortments of phrases and words uttered by computer generated voices and whispers flooded my headphones like a tidal wave. Parts of it even seem atmospheric, like there are moments where I can close my eyes and feel more ‘involved’ with the piece. I listened to it twice – once in a lit room with my eyes on my computer, and a second one with all the lights off and my eyes closed. I think the experience is more enriching with the latter method because it forces you to only interact with Tone. Thinking back to Second Life and how people use it as an online space to occupy, I can almost say I had a similar experience. Was this the intention, to suck someone away into a virtual space that doesn’t feel ‘right’? “I’m not going to the dentist until the apocalypse arrives” had to be my favorite line, it is so absurd yet it makes me think about the context of the sentence. It’s moments like that and the random shifting of mood that made me appreciate my time with this piece. Like Bots, I’m not sure the words being said are important, but rather the delivery of them and how you are reading these without necessarily ‘reading’ anything.

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