johnthepom: my robot alter ego NZ1977

Let me introduce you to Johnthepom - an experiment I set running just a couple of days before I left for New Zealand. Johnthepom is a text bot. Being short of time and ideas and full of expectation heading back to New Zealand I set up Johnthepom in a few minutes then sat back to see what he would do. Johnthepom is a text robot which is made up of a couple of emotions, several keywords for interests and relevant topics. And a GPS reference. I designed him around my persona when working on a New Zealand sheep farm in the later part of the 1970s (and sorry yes the photo is me from that time with the East Dome mountain in the background just behind the 1800 acres where I worked).

What Johnthepom does is to collect on his blog posts and content by similar sorts of people in the same part of the world with similar interests (in my case I think it was guitar playing, fishing and shooting rabbits as well as the farming). To be clear – I didn't post any of this content. The robot collected material which mapped the persona that I gave him.  I will probably go an tune Johnthepom some more – give me a deeper character and send him off to Queenstown or even Auckland for a couple of weeks to see who he finds.

JTPlocation Here is a map so you can see where the posts have come from. Its a part of the world where you won't find 3G but that doesn't stop the robot from working. There was enough going on there to start collecting. Brainjuicer is using this technology in its Digividuals to conduct market research online. I referenced this in my Cloud of Knowing paper at the MRS conference last year.

Robots are being used more and more on the web because they are so easy to set up and because of the interesting ways they can comb through the data and help us to make sense of it.

I'm wondering what to do next. Perhaps I will set up a troop of robots each one representing a part of my personality (the 4 evangelists or the 4 horsemen of the apocalpyse I wonder?) – tether them to my GPS reference on my mobile and get them to collect interesting content when I move around.  If you have any more ideas for how I might use robots then why not add a comment below? These are early days but this shows that the data on the internet can be reconfigured into much more interesting ways than web pages and infographics.. for more about  these robots check out or the demographic replicator blog which was the first incarnation of these intriguing creatures.




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