Tech | December 23, 2019 7:08 am

The Wit and Wisdom of a Mark Zuckerberg Bot

One newspaper’s foray into the uncanny valley

A new bot offers a very surreal take on Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.
Minette Lontsie/Creative Commons

What happens when a public figure might not be entirely forthcoming when it comes to answering questions from the media? Let’s also say that that public figure has a long history of public statements — something which one could theoretically mine for insights into their speaking style and particular mannerisms. Someone like, say, Mark Zuckerberg.

The Guardian has done just that. Working in conjunction with Botnik Studios, they took over 200,000 of Zuckerberg’s words and created something they’ve dubbed “Zuckerbot.” And then, because the real Zuckerberg has never granted The Guardian an interview, they decided to ask their questions to Zuckerbot instead.

The results have an ominous, uncanny poetry to them. Here’s Zuckerbot’s answer to a question about what might happen if he was to be presented with clear-cut evidence that Facebook is bad for the world at large:

Here is what I can assure you: if you think Facebook is a force for Facebook, you will be curated offline and our friends will help you remove bad speech from your preferences.

And for those curious about what Zuckerbot thinks of the possibility of class struggle, well, he has plenty of thoughts on that as well. “I am a lot more than a huge amount of money,” Zuckerbot said. “I am a bunch of stuff, which means that if I don’t exist any more, there’s no one else to make sure we’ve got this computer to do everything from governance to research.”

Zuckerbot is a bunch of stuff, and Facebook is a force for Facebook. It might sound strange, but there’s something oddly sublime about the whole thing; a surreal way to help draw a strange year to a close.

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