how ‘bots’ work

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For example, the bots that leave weird comments all over Youtube. I don’t really understand what these are.

Just bear with my stupidity here…

So a person had to create/program these bots, right? Does the person control the bot, or at least follow/keep tabs on the bot to see where it’s going, what it’s doing, etc…or do they kind of lose control over it once it’s created? And my biggest curiosity: what’s the point of it? Does the bot actually serve some kind of purpose?

In: 5

No they can run automatically in the background. Possibly not even on the creators computer but rather on some remote server.

They could see whats going on but the purpose of bots is spamming faster than a human can even read.

They can’t lose control unless the bot is a virus that infects other computers and uses them to spam.

The point of it can be different. Some bots spread political propaganda, some make money through scam or ads. Some shall disturb a website from functioning, some are just dumb kids messing around.

A bot is just a program designed to automate something repetitive. Usually the person running the bot has some specific goal for it, whether that is to leave a specific number of comments, buy a certain number of tickets/shoes/etc, and that person sets the goal and the bot will report on its progress while it runs.

The purpose, depends on the bot. Maybe you want to get a block of tickets to a high demand concert to resell. Maybe you want to spam a certain number of comments because you’re being paid to do so by someone. Etc.

>For example, the bots that leave weird comments all over Youtube. I don’t really understand what these are.

A bot is just a computer program. No different than Word or Google Chrome or whatever.

Specifically, the kinds of bots that leave comments on YouTube videos or on Reddit threads… When you fill out the comment box and click “Submit”, your web browser wraps your comment up into a little package and sends it to the website with a command, something to the effect of “I am signed in as <user>, here’s my ID, leave a comment that says <message> on <post>”. A bot is just a computer program that can craft and send packages like that all on its own, no buttons or web browser required.

> Does the person control the bot, or at least follow/keep tabs on the bot to see where it’s going, what it’s doing, etc…

Depends what it’s designed to do and what it’s being used for.

A person generally has to start it up (unless you have a bot whose job is to start up other bots, but that’s getting kinda meta). Once started, usually they simply run on their own. Bots exist to automate boring crap no one wants to do, it’d often defeat the point if you had to babysit it. But it’s always gonna depend.

> do they kind of lose control over it once it’s created?

Not really. Again, it’s just a computer program like Word, etc. You don’t really have a way to lose control of it unless you design it to spread itself. At that point it’d be considered a computer virus.

> And my biggest curiosity: what’s the point of it? Does the bot actually serve some kind of purpose?

Most of them are doing *something*, but it can be tricky to deduce exactly what just by watching it. Specifically YouTube comment bots, hard to say for sure. Could be a mix of things. Maybe the bot is trying to make the account look more active than it really is. Maybe they are advertising some website or product, or “astroturfing” a movement or political campaign. Maybe they’re trying to artificially boost interactions with a specific video or creator so the algorithm shares it more. Or maybe a beginner is just screwing around. It’s hard to say for certain what. But you can generally infer that if someone didn’t need it for something, it wouldn’t have been made.

Bots are just computer programs that are told to interact with some online service, like youtube. They’re not doing anything the creator didn’t tell them to do, and they aren’t sentient. The person who deployed the bot can just shut it off when they are done. Programs have whatever purpose their creator had when making them: a bot can be used to provide services, to try and scam people, to be disruptive to others, and so on.