Making ethical bots, over at Motherboard

To my tremendous honor, Sarah’s Motherboard article about instilling ethics in Twitter bots quotes me in a few places. In particular, it recounts a story I hadn’t told publicly about a bot I didn’t make.

Recently, Higgins hoped to make an iterator bot out of turn-of-the-century popular music that had been digitized by the New York Public Library. But quite a lot of the scanned sheet music was, to say the least, extremely racist. So he scrapped the whole idea. “It was acceptable at the time, but that’s not what I would want my bot to say,” said Higgins. Loosely paraphrasing Darius Kazemi, he said, “My bot is not me, and should not be read as me. But it’s something that I’m responsible for. It’s sort of like a child in that way—you don’t want to see your child misbehave.”

The whole article is great, and the other botmakers she included are each an inspiration. Go read it!