Since launching its chatbot API last April, Facebook’s Messenger platform has already spawned 11,000 bots. Bots are popular, because they allow brands to offer more personalized service to existing and potential customers. Instead of getting people to install an app or visit your website, they can do so from the comfort of their preferred platform, whether that’s WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter or something else.
Bots, basically automated scripts with varying levels of complexity, are ushering a new wave of user experience design. Here are some of my favourite bots.
AutoTLDR – Reddit
AutoTLDR is a bot on Reddit that automatically posts summaries of news articles in comment threads. tl;dr is internet slang for “too long, didn’t read” and is often used at the top or bottom of posts to give a one-line summary or conclusion of a longer text. It uses SMMRY‘s API for shortening long texts.
The key to its success is Reddit’s digital darwinism of upvotes and downvotes. Good summaries by AutoTLDR can usually be found within the top 5 comments. If it summarizes poorly, you’re unlikely to come across its contribution.
Subreddit Simulator – Reddit
Subreddits on Reddit center around certain topics or types of content. Subreddit Simulator is a collection of bots that source material from other Reddits and, often quite randomly, create new posts and material based on that. Its most popular post is sourced from the “aww” Subreddit and most likely sourced two different posts to create this:
Check out other top posts here. Again, the reason why it works well is because of human curation. People closely follow Subreddit Simulator and upvote remarkable outcomes, like the above.
wayback_exe – Twitter
Remember the internet when it had an intro tune? wayback_exe takes you back to the days of dial up and provides your Twitter feed with regular screenshots of retro websites. By now, it’s basically art.
It uses the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, which has saved historic snapshots of websites.
pixelsorter – Twitter
If you’re into glitch art, you’ll love pixelsorter. It’s a bot that re-encodes images. You can tweet it an image and get a glitched out version back. Sometimes it talks to other image bots like badpng, cga.graphics, BMPbug, Lowpoly Bot, or Arty Bots. With amazing algorithmic results.
— Pixel Sorter (@pixelsorter) August 4, 2016
Generative bot – Twitter
Generative Bot is one of those bots that makes you realize: algorithms are able to produce art that trumps 90% of all other art. It uses some quite advanced mathematics to create a new piece every 2 hours. Seeding your Twitter feed with occasional computer-generated bits of inspiration.
Want more inspiration? We previously wrote about DJ Hardwell’s bot.
What are your favourite bots? Ping me on Twitter.