Many users of the Internet are aware of bots: automated programs that work behind the scenes to come up with search suggestions, check the weather, filter emails, or clean up Wikipedia entries. More recently, a new software robot has been making its presence felt in social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter – the socialbot. However, unlike other bots, socialbots are built to appear human. While a weatherbot will tell you if it's sunny and a spambot will incessantly peddle Viagra, socialbots will ask you questions, have conversations, like your posts, retweet you, and become your friend. All the while, if they're well-programmed, you won't know that you're tweeting and friending with a robot.

Who benefits from the use of software robots? Who loses? Does a bot deserve rights? Who pulls the strings of these bots? Who has the right to know what about them? What does it mean to be intelligent? What does it mean to be a friend? Socialbots and Their Friends: Digital Media and the Automation of Sociality is one of the first academic collections to critically consider the socialbot and tackle these pressing questions.

chapter 1|16 pages

Socialbots and Their Friends

ByRobert W. Gehl, Maria Bakardjieva

part |2 pages

PART I Friends

part |2 pages

PART II Socialbots

chapter 8|17 pages

Speculations on the Sociality of Socialbots

ByGrant Bollmer, Chris Rodley

chapter 9|23 pages

Authenticity by Design: Reflections on Researching, Designing and Teaching Socialbots

ByStefano De Paoli, Leslie Ball, Natalie Coull, John Isaacs, Angus MacDonald, Jonathan Letham

chapter 11|23 pages

Rationalizing Sociality: An Unfinished Script for Socialbots

ByMaria Bakardjieva

chapter 12|19 pages

The Other Question: Socialbots and the Question of Ethics

ByDavid J. Gunkel