More than 2/3 of internet traffic is now bots - those little software bits that handle gazillions of repetitive tasks and live on the internet. Many bots are for good purposes and many bots have less than good, even malicious intentions. Google bots crawl your website looking for new material to index its search engine thus performing a valuable service for us. This is one of the good ones. The kind of bots that simulate real people are sometimes malicious bots. For example, multiple countries have accused Russia of using bots to influence elections and spread lies about candidates.
Twitter bots are front-page today because of influential gripes by Elon Musk. A Twitter bot imitates how real people use Twitter. It can tweet, retweet and follow people, but doesn't engage in real online dialog. Twitter bots can spread misinformation or troll people. Harry and Meghan have famously been the victims of hate trolls.
Are you wondering how many of your Twitter followers are bots? You can use the Botometer to check out your followers. https://botometer.osome.iu.edu/ . I prefer their former name BotOrNot.
Chat bots - Exasperating or welcome?Read More.
A lot of bots are just annoying. Chat bots, not to be confused with chat boxes where you chat by text with a real person, can be especially aggravating. Chat bots for product support simulate a real help desk person and use artificial intelligence to understand your product question. Ideally, this is a good thing because the chat bot is available 24/7 and doesn't require a person with both good technical and good language skills. However, if your question does not fit the pre-programmed product questions, this can be extremely frustrating.
Help Desk Hell
I recently had an exchange where the responses repeatedly failed to address my question even after multiple attempts to explain it more clearly. I finally recognized I had just been sending keywords to a bot and not having a conversation at all. A Google engineer was recently suspended for claiming that a chatbot he was working on had become sentient and was thinking and reasoning like a human being. I'd like to meet that bot and skedaddle away from these dummy bots who have been wasting my time.