From ACM news:
That next tweet you receive on Twitter may not come from a live person at all but from a social bot, a tiny program designed to mimic real users.
Indeed, a 2009 study found that 24% of all tweets are created by bots, not humans.
Some are known to be malevolent; in November, 2011, social bots made off with 250GB of personal information belonging to thousands ofFacebook users
However, last January, three independent researchers started a project to determine what positive effects bots could have in social media such as Twitter. What they discovered was that the bots–swarms of automated, intelligent identities that interact, encourage, and provoke communities toward certain behaviors could serve as "virtual social connectors," accelerating the natural rate of human-to-human communication.
Most surprising to the researchers was that the bots produced a 43% increase in human-to-human after bots were inserted. (from Twitter.com )
With the 'nodes' on the Internet increasingly becoming automated with different levels of reactive intelligence, how this will all work out is not entirely clear.
The question as to who is the Turing machine, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_machine, and who is the observer of the Turing machine may not be so obvious over time.
I think it's worth some thought learning about what a "bot" is, and isn't, since I'm suspecting that's not clear in the above post. As it sits, from where I sit, it is not even worth discussing further.
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