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Bot Club discussions

Criticial reflections by Het Nieuwe Instituut on bots and other algorithmic agents

Critical Discourses on Algorithmic Culture

A selection of publications, discussions and projects that investigate bots and algorithmic agency. Current themes in algorithmic culture that feature in the Bot Club.

Theme: Legal Tech

Automation in the legal sphere

Article in De Groene Amsterdammer (Dutch) on fully automated handling of cases of debt collecting by an e-Court. Intransparent decision making, contrary to consumers rights.

Theme: News Recommendation

News recommender systems and democracy

An article co-authored by Sarah Eskens, from the Institute of Information Law about the implications of automated news recommmendation for the democratic role of digital media, user rights and public information policy.

Theme: Computational propaganda

Automated influencing of opinion
Computational propaganda research project by OII

A transdisciplinary project from the Oxford Internet Institute investigating the relationships between algorithms, automation and politics.

Radical Openness

A research project by about computational propaganda and the role social bots play in modern politics.

Automating Hate

Eric Gallagher delves into the world social bots that automate hate-mongering on Twitter, in so-called megaphoning systems.

Theme: Algorithmic racism

Reflections on the automated performance of notions of human race
Machine Biases

An investigative journalistic series on algorithmic injustice and the computational biases relating to race.

Theme: Ethical bot making

Reflections on making ethical, activist or critical bots
Protest bots

"A protest bot is a bot so specific you can’t mistake it for bullshit". Mark Sample's call for the creation of bots that are "topical, data-based, cumulative, and oppositional”.

Ethical Bot making advice

Glaciologist occasional bot maker Martin O'Leary's practical advice on ethics of making bots.

Bot security and hybrid ethics

Using an ecological approach Douglas Guilbeault looks at how social media propels algorithms into agency and the political problems this reveals, inviting a  hybrid ethics, wherein humans and bots act together to solve problems in bot security and Internet ethics more broadlly. International Journal of Communication10 (2016).

Critical Engineering Manifesto

The famous Critical Engineering Manifesto outlines a fundamental critical (creative) ethics towards the practice of engineering.  It also underpins the concepts of Julian Olivers' automatons.

Books and articles

Matteo Pasquinell (ed.) Alleys of our Mind

Matteo Pasquinelli et al look into the cognitive, political, and technological composition of definitions of error, abnormality, trauma, and catastrophe in computing.

Wendy Chun: Programmed Visions

In Programmed Visions Wendy Chun explores cultural notions of software, memory, visibility, logic and metaphor in new media and algorithmic culture.

Benjamin Bratton: The Stack

In The Stack Benjamin Bratton investigates how the different genres of computing, such as smart grids, cloud platforms, mobile apps, and the Internet of Things, form part of a new accidental techno-political megastructure, which can be understood as organised in the form of a stack.

Socialbots & their Friends: Digital Media & the Automation of Sociality

A collection of academic texts about the role bots and algorithms play in the social lives of web users, and the critical questions surrounding them.

Interview with @NaïveQuestions bot

 Bot-maker Tully Hansen interviews Twitter bot @NaiveQuestions about twitter bots

Internet Bots Fight Each Other Because They're All Too Human

Wired Magazine’s Matt Simons explores the use and deployment of ‘benevolent’ bots to combat ‘malevolent’ bots online.

How to Think About Bots

A Motherboard article on the roles of botds in the public domain, and the complex relations between bot-agency and (semi-)auotonomy and and (design) ethics.

Dear Bot, What Pronouns Do You Use?

BotWatch’s Vivian Sming writes about the anthropomorphism of bots and how this relates to contemporary gender politics.

Bots, Bespoke Code and the Materiality of Software Platforms

R. Stuart Geiger from UC-Berkeley School of Information’s paper on the use of ‘bespoke code’ in Wikipedia, with a focus on bots, and how it relates to the discussion of regulating software systems through code. Information, Communication, and Society (2014)



Blogs and collections


Algopop is a Tumblr blog where Matthew Plummer Fernandez documents the perfomance of algorithms in popular culture and everyday life.

Social Media Collective: Research Blog

Great repository of academic texts relating to critical algorithm studies.


Online publication with multidisciplinary critical discussions about bots, which includes articles, essays, and even bots of their own.

Research groups and communities of practice

Oxford Internet Institute

The Oxford Internet Institute is one of the formost departments of social and computer sciences, based at the University of Oxford.

Digital Methods Initiative

The Digital Methods Initiative is one of Europe's leading Internet Studies research groups

Hashtag #BotAlly

#BotALLY is a hashtag used by a community of bot makers on twitter to label contributions on their shared practice.

The Social Media Collective

Part of the Microsoft Research Lab, the Social Media Collective consists of a network of social science and humanistic researchers.

Darius Kazemi's Bot Summits

Annual summit for bot-makers organised by internet artist and bot-maker Darius Kazemi.

Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, R&D Department
Adriaan Odendaal