2 Jan 2000 stevex   » (Journeyer)

Okay so I'm watching CNN tonight and they're talking about Bots. What is a Bot?

I think this is a question we should answer. Someone should answer it anyway, and in a way that can be presented to the mainstream media (generally press people who are interested in writing stories more than they are learning technical details) so that they can understand it.

To me, a Bot is a standalone piece of software that interacts with other software to do things for me.

To CNN, a Bot seems to be any piece of software that purports to be a Bot. We could say that it's not really their job to know the difference, but we would expect CNN to know the difference between, say, a cellular phone and a cordless home phone, and use the correct terminology when talking about them.

The Jargon File only defines bots in the IRC context (where they are pretty much any software agent that sits in a channel and does stuff). What's a Bot when we're talking about the general computing context?

Is a Shopping Bot (a fairly common thing these days) a Bot if it only knows how to talk to three specific sites when "searching for the best price" for me?

Etc. Something to think about.

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