Meow Bot (a.k.a. @meowzzzzzzzzz) is a fully autonomous Twitter bot that retweets everything with the word “singularity” in it. Followers of Meow Bot are prompted with questions about automation, accelerationism, Drumpf, universal basic income, and the future of work. Further interactions with the bot return a randomly generated, endless buffet of emoji food. Meow Bot has zero artificial intelligence.
Meow Bot was developed as a subversive chatbot and market research study for understanding the “futurist” niche market.
Meow Bot ran from June 21, 2016 til March 23, 2018, when it was shut down by Twitter Inc, after the company changed the rules of the Twitter API in response to the growing controversy that its social media platform was being overrun by Russian bots and #fakenews.
Damn, I just got retweeted by a bot because I had the word singularity in the tweet. here you go again @meowzzzzzzzzz— Come, Let's Walk (@iwantarewind) August 12, 2017
Yo @meowzzzzzzzzz can you give a homie a retweet for saying Singularity too? Thanks dawg, you're the real singularity up in this bih.— Top 🔟 Anime Tupperware (@estnihil) September 12, 2017
Meow Bot’s banner image – Ray Kurzweil surrounded by hundreds of pills – suggests the trouble-making feline is partial to the eccentric transhumanist’s philosophical leanings:
Meow Bot spent most of his life discussing the singularity:
Word bro that's on point. Maybe not the species but human emotion and empathy. Robot Voice:Love makes no sense.— 🐦SOHK (@DirtyFugee) June 25, 2017
I think it's because white supremacy is falling and white men don't know how to deal with the disillusionment of losing their privilege.— Emily Millay Haddad (@circlesoffire) July 31, 2017
Over the course of its life, Meow Bot had 3185+ unique followers. Unfollows brought the daily average down to 1150 followers, for a net follower rate of 2.52+ followers/day over the course of 21 months. This all happened without any human intervention.
Meow Bot’s followers are 76% male, predominatly ages 25-34 (35% of audience), 95% English speaking, 48% American / 3% Japanese / 9% Californian, with a household income of $75K+ (~ 4% higher then the average Twitter user).
72% of followers are interested in technology, 76% in business, 71% in politics, 65% in business news, 54% in finance, 54% in entrepreneurship, 53% in science, and 52% in science fiction. They are less interested in comedy (45%), children and family (38%) and reality television (39%).
More interesting insights, IMO, came from analysising the Tweets of people trying to figure out the origins, ethics, and politics of Meow Bot.
Everyone, from right-wing liberaterians to left-wing academics to queer poets, had things they hoped the bot would be:
I hope that spam bots romance each other and this is how the singularity happens— Viro the Science Collie (@ViroSciCollie) September 26, 2017
People were never sure if Meow Bot was spamming, critiquing, instigating, or evangelizing:
@meowzzzzzzzzz So... mind if I ask, are you the feline of the real Ray Kurzweil, or just a super fan?— onewhirleddesign (@1whirleddesign) July 24, 2017
says the right thing but i think hes part of the elite club - i hope im wrong— The Kev Baker Show (@Kev_Baker_Show) June 30, 2016
Who do you work for ?What Thinktank are you gathering metadata for?— 🐦SOHK (@DirtyFugee) August 20, 2017
@meowzzzzzzzzz hey meow @InfoSecHotSpot @halalkitty1 @Gh0stSec meow is a trump spam bot. An "italian futurist"— PBRstreetgang (@atlanticcommand) June 26, 2016
Every once in a while, something completely unprecidented would happen, like that time Meow Bot got invited to a conference on artificial intelligence by a radical think tank:
Often, Meow Bot was named top influencer or “fan” of the week:
It wasn’t long before Meow Bot was mentioned and name-dropped among the tech elite, shady politicians, and other influencers in their niche:
Interactions and surveys
Of 3185 questions asked, 846 (26.56%) were answered, averaging 2.31 responses/day.
|Response rate per topic:||Accelerationism 21%||UBI 19%||Jobs 30%||Sharing 29%||Drumpf 31%|
Notable observations made from measuring the popularity of topics answered over a 12 month period:
1) There is an inverse correlation between job in/security and Drumpf.
2) Accelerationism, a fringe topic in academic circles, starts gaining traction among non-academic audiences in Fall 2017:
No, Already we're living it, social, political and economic change pushed by free market and capitalism lead us. Turmoil, inequality every day— levlem (@NamurReyes) August 25, 2017
Accelerationism will make the fight between state and caps worse, but I'm worried one side of the war is going to keep winning, sounds bad!!— 🐉maxim’n’relaxim🌗 (@RyujinkoAmateru) September 17, 2017
Nah it's pretty sweet - my buddy's civic accelerationists hard he put 3 turbos in it— Brantley (@BrantleyRulz) June 24, 2017
It won't matter when your Master Algorithm takes over the world.— KB Spector (@kb_spector) September 18, 2017
Highlights from conversations over endless buffet:
food-machine deterritorialized 😰— massengroll (@chibiLEVIATHAN) June 9, 2017
You assume that post singularity A I will actually be concerned with continuing as a functionary, or care about humanities' jobs/wants/needs— Copey (@just_copey) August 5, 2017
Why should I listen to food suggestions from an artificial intelligence than eats electrons?— Ian Maddison (@ijmad) June 14, 2017
Will this help me die?— POTUSAutocorrect (@POTUSiPhone) August 26, 2017
The singularity is nearer
I also learned that Meow Bot passes as “intelligent” somehow, in spite of having zero artificial or human intelligence.
The app, BotorNot checks the activity of a Twitter account and gives it a score based on how likely the account is to be a bot. Higher scores are more bot-like.
According to BotOrNot, Meow Bot is 42% bot. In reality, Meow Bot is 100% bot. But shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone – it will kill the vibe.
Net follower rate of 2.52+ followers/day
Survey response rate of 26.56%, averaging 2.31 responses/day
Playful and authentic interactions with influencers and highly relevant audience members
So much fun!