How Horse_ebooks Changed Internet Poetry Forever

What’s the difference between a tweet written by a human and a tweet generated by a machine?

In a lot of cases, it’s difficult to tell. Twitter bot developers are allowed unbridled creativity, and Twitter’s open API makes it a place where a bot can do pretty much anything. For example, Nathan Bernard (a developer we interviewed in season 2 of our podcast) tweets both manually and automatically. The automatic side of his account runs a script designed to get the first reply to any Donald Trump tweet. Itโ€™s even engineered to match its reply to the original tweet, making it harder to discern whether or not a bot is at work behind the scenes.…   [continue reading]

The Art and Nonsense Poetry of Obscure Twitter Bots

Art and curation left in the hands of scripts and algorithms is fascinating, and nowhere more accessible than when on Twitter. There are a handful of bots that tweet varied and interesting art. Art that makes you wonder how useful humans are anyway, other than for coding thousands of these things.

Some bots on this list drip out material from a database, while some procedurally generate art, or mash up existing material in new ways.

My obsession with machine curated/created art has led me to hunt for more and more Twitter bots, and I’ve found and followed some great ones so far.…   [continue reading]

Somewhere on a server, poem.exe loops endlessly


Are humans alwaysย the best artists?ย Art made by bots โ€” like these automatically generated landscapes and robot poets like poem.exe โ€” makes me wonder.

After being given a set of instructions (more on that later), bots like poem.exe, Guardian Haiku and pentametron either extract poetry from existing text or generate it from scratch.

By analyzing tweets written in iambic pentameter then retweeting them in rhyming pairs, pentametron ‘writes’ย mined, decontextualized poetry, the likes of which you’d not expect to see anywhere.

…   [continue reading]