The widespread presence of bots on the internet has driven concerns about their effects on social media, cybersecurity, and public discourse, but internet bots are far from a new phenomenon. The Onion takes a look at the history of bots on the internet.


1950:

Alan Turing creates the Turing test, an experiment where a human tries to tell the difference between a machine and a human with an exciting offer if you act now.

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1966:

MIT’s ELIZA, an early chatbot, revolutionizes the field of screwing around with a piece of software for four minutes and then getting bored.

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1997:

Tamagotchis successfully scam millions of children with titillating messages that they’re so lonely and hungry and just looking for someone to satisfy their needs.

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2005:

It officially becomes too late to stop them.


2007:

The Storm botnet causes financial crimes committed by bots to surpass financial crimes committed by humans for the first time ever.

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2011:

Apple introduces virtual assistant Siri, which allows users to search the internet with just their voice and then manually when Siri didn’t understand what they were asking.

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2012:

Despondent YouTube bot gives up on trying to teach itself how to skip ads.


2015:

Microsoft’s Cortana software becomes the first artificial intelligence to know the human pain of being forgotten and abandoned.

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2019:

Twitter addresses growing influence of bots on platform by adding 5 million more.

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