The world can’t tell if @kate_sheppard is a Twitter bot, or not.
And somebody is naive enough to find the whole situation “hilarious”.
In truth, if a software developer can write an automated responding machine for Twitter ready to spit out standard AGW Truths, logic indicates that people that repeat those same Truths are just as mindless and devoid of critical thinking as any computer program. As I commented at Technology Review:
My impression of this whole affair is that the joke will ultimately be on the bot’s creator. If you can be replaced by a mindless machine, what does that tell people about your reasoning skills?
If a bot can sustain your argument despite being devoid of critical thinking, what should one conclude about your own critical thinking?
Yes, there is a vast literature in favor of AGW, and one can go around fishing for whatever pro-AGW statement one could ever wish for. There is even a website cataloging everything that is supposed to be linked to AGW, and that means literally everything, and its opposite. What has that _quantity_ got to do with proper science, I will never understand.
Remember Einstein…”wieso hundert Autoren?”…
This squares out nicely with Judith Curry’s statement about having in the past felt “obligated in substituting the IPCC for my own personal judgment“. It also explains perfectly why otherwise brainy people like the Bad Astronomer consistently and unremittingly fall for the shoddiest of climate-change “science” presentations.
Just like on Skeptical Science, it’s a matter of switching off all forms of independent thought, and from the comfort of residing in the mainstream, of repeating the usual mantras with a certitude that goes far beyond the scientific. Replace cerebral activity with quantity of citations, and you’ll be onboard to. Obligated to do so, just like the average chatbot.
ps Had myself a couple of encounters with @AI_AGW. What I remember noticing, was the absolute lack of interest in moving the discussion beyond the usual statements. Just like the average AGWer…are we sure it WAS a chatbot? 😎
UPDATE: as if on cue, Phil Plait joins in, blissfully unaware that the age of the chatbots will pretty much force science writers to ask if you would like fries with that. This is my comment:
Phil is as wrong on this topic as an army of astrologers convinced of replacing vaccines with UFO-inspired homeopathy. The only thing the chatbot demonstrates is that it’s pretty easy to imitate an AGW believer, and that brains or critical thinking are not needed to believe in AGW. Actually, one does rather well without brains or critical thinking, if one wants to believe in AGW.
Suffice it to say that no moon hoax debunker, no astrology debunker, no creationism debunker ever dreamed of building anything like a chatbot…
So the end result is that from today onwards, every time I will discuss with a fervent AGW believer, one of those people that think that it is a scandal to ask any question about AGW, then I will have to wonder if I am talking to a human being or to a chatbot. And it will be very, very hard to tell.