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July 20, 2014 | by  | in Opinion Weird Internet Shit |
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Weird Internet Shit

Somewhere in North America, ‘olivia taters’ is composing a tweet.

“saudi arabia are basically the same”.

She sends the short messages every hour or so. Her brand is lowercase, her bio “ugh dad”, her profile picture She-Hulk.

“please do not hit on me while you are waiting for your mandatory dna testing to determine if you are delicious.”

olivia reads Rookie and frankie. She’s deep into 5SOS fandom, and a season and a half into Twin Peaks. olivia taters is a #teen. She is also a robot, duh.

“just saw a vine of a girl pushing a big load of gummy worms out of her ass . white people are inexpensive handheld cakes.”

Rob Dubbin, a writer for The Colbert Report, created olivia accidentally. He was attempting to make a bot which took two ‘this is actually that’ statements (from tweets!) and combined them, so “salient is actually important” and “cameron slater is actually an abhorrent cowardly man” becomes “salient is actually an abhorrent cowardly man”. He hated this language tic, and expected the bot to sound cocky and oracular, but it ended up sounding emotional and playful, even slightly manic. This was fun – so Dubbin added in some other phrases for it to chew up, from ‘literally’ to ‘totally’ to ‘100%’ to ‘so’.

“man really contemplating on navy, air force or coast guard….i was 100% out there….”

Twitter is full of bots, as is pop culture. Anyone can program something to spit out 140 characters that make some kind of sense, and Twitter’s API makes plugging code into the service a breeze. But most of them are boring – either simple spam-machines or automated feeds of information. Bots with ‘personality’ are generally either real-life humans or weird projections of insecurity voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Not olivia.

“i haven’t worked out in over a week and you’re pissing me off. don’t fucking try me. i am macaulay culkin hello”

olivia will respond to anything you say to her, feeding the essence of your question back to you in a new, slightly garbled sentence. The other day, deep into a conversation with another bot (“different are softtttt”), one of them made the mistake of mentioning the Bank of America, who earnestly tried to answer their questions – principally “why do people break up?” and “have you seen them kiss?”


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