Making Machines That Make Meaning

I’ve co-authored a book with Tony Veale about Twitterbots and Computational Creativity, and it’s out really very soon, and you can order it online here! This is a quick post to fill you in on what’s inside.

A few years ago now I gave a talk at a code camp in Portugal where I introduced students to the world of Twitterbots by giving them a tour of dozens of my favourite bots, and grouping them into categories based on what they did. At the code camp I got talking to Tony Veale, another researcher in Computational Creativity, who suggested we write the talk up into a little eBook and publish it online somewhere. A few years later, and here we are, somehow with MIT Press publishing it and a very fancy cover design. It’s been quite a trek to get here!

The book has two distinct sides to it which Tony and I each took a lead on. I wrote about the history of Twitterbots, including interviews with some great people in the community, and also a clean, code-free introduction to some ideas and philosophy around generative software. Tony’s filled the rest of the book with a really great series of exercises that introduce ideas from Computational Creativity, his own views on the landscape of Twitterbots, and he’s also provided a huge amount of free data and resources to help you start making bots. Tony did a huge amount of heavy lifting on this book, and I’m so grateful to him for making it a real thing.

If you’re interested in Twitterbots, generative software or Computational Creativity, maybe you’ll get a chance to check out the book! If so, please let me know what you think. Writing even part of a book was daunting and hard, but MIT Press were great to us and the best moment was seeing the cover design for the first time, which instantly nailed the entire idea of the book with one concept pitch. I hope you enjoy it!