The Singularity Is Here

Don’t Fear the Weavr: Grow Your Own Emoting, Autonomous Twitter Bot

Who watches the autonomous botsman?

weavrs02 300x300 Dont Fear the Weavr: Grow Your Own Emoting, Autonomous Twitter Bot A creepy curious new service made its way to the top of Hacker News today. Weavrs is a product from a British “social media data aggregation startup” called Philter Phactory.

The site lets anyone create “Weavrs,” or “alter egos crafted from the threads of the social web.” Basically, that means users can input interests and characteristics and the service will generate an “autonomous” bot–or ‘tar, if you will–that can tweet, blog, and–they claim–emote by scraping information online based on those inputs.

Sort of like a digital doppleganger, but with a personality-ish. Picture @Horse_ebooks, but with a human antecedent.

Users can generate a Weavr based on anything from a fictional character, or even a version of yourself. Then they go forth and live a simulated–thus far mostly nonsensical–life online, although designers have the option to edit. In fact, a number of Weavrs already live among us. You will know them by their pixelated avatars and uber-eerie computer-generated patois.

Take for example, this message from a Weavr called Marry Poppins: “I’m dreaming. Something about #eekkkk and #share, not sure, but I’m feeling useless,” accompanied by what looks like an arty version of a nuclear mushroom cloud. #Eekkk indeed!

The founders are keeping mum about their secret formula, but insist that it is governed by something more than just related key words, but less than artificial intelligence. “We’re still unsure what they are too. That’s why we develop with them,” writes a HN commenter named zeroinfluencer who seems to speak for the company. With them?! Okay, maybe you should be a little frightened.

Weavrs gained some notoriety back in March when the founders created an avatar of author Jon Ronson based on his Wikipedia page. Mr. Ronson tried to get the Weavr taken down, but opted to interview the creators instead, after realizing, “It’s kind of ridiculous that I’m at war with a robot version of myself.” Tension ensues and the @jon_ronson Weavr eventually said “bye-bye.”

The company offers a “Prosthetic App Store,” where you can find plug-ins that enhance Weavrs with functionality like the ability to emote (again, mainly in gibberish, from the looks of it) or spit out customized “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters.

Come to think of it, we’ve been searching for the right slogan to prepare for the Singularity. Keep Calm and Robot On?

We’ve reached out to Twitter and will update the post when we hear back.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com