Chatbot auto-tweets replies to climate change arguments

November 4, 2010 by Lin Edwards Chatbot auto-tweets replies to climate change arguments

(PhysOrg.com) -- A software developer has created a "chatbot" program for Twitter to automatically detect set phrases associated with arguments put forward by those skeptical of anthropogenic global warming, and to send automated replies of set phrases debunking their arguments.

Nigel Leck’s creation is @AI_AGW (also known as Turing Test), and the script searches the Twitter site for hundreds of phrases he believes tend to be used by those who think global warming is not occurring, or who think it is occurring but is not anthropogenic or entirely anthropogenic. When the script finds one of the phrases it then "tweets" a response from an extensive database of countering phrases.

The return tweets are selected to match the phrases found so, for example, tweets about global warming occurring on Mars or Neptune will produce a response suggesting this does not prove the sun is warming and producing Earth’s global warming. Tweets often contain a link to a scientific source or a video refuting the argument.

Leck said he originally wrote many of the rebuttals himself, but he has now extracted many from a university source, but one which he will not identify. Some of the responses relate to religion, which is where Leck says debates with the chatbot often end up.

The tweets are not identified as autoresponses, although the name provides clues, and Leck said many people receiving them continue their “conversations” for hours or days, which is possible because the program selects from a range of responses and does not reply the same way each time.

Leck said if the program “argues them into a corner,” there tends to be two “crowds”: one who resort to the “God created it that way” final response, and a second group Leck calls “skeptics so unyielding they won’t be swayed by any amount of argumentation.”
Great, now the Greenies are even outsourcing their debates.

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