Introduction: Bot Logic

Infrapuncture is a helpful term at a time when there is a lot of discussion around the political roles of bots in communication platforms, e.g. their undue influence in political elections or bots which are created in order to harass activists. Making a bot can be a way to probe and understand potential forms of interventions, create new imaginaries or attempt to deflate existing hegemonic structures.

Bots rely on the technical restrictions and possibilities of interaction defined by the infrastructure on which they are operating. In order to run a bot, a technical understanding of this infrastructure is therefore required. The API (Application Programming Interface) is an important entry point here. This technical framework provides a programming interface to communicate with a system. The API can be understood as a set of agreements that is designed by the engineers of an infrastructure for two applications to communicate with one another, which eventually defines the technical imaginary of a platform. (We dive a bit deeper into API's in track 6, click here to go there directly.)

Before launching a bot into a digital environment, the bot maker does not only need to find a technical entry point, but also a social one. Writing a bot also implies a thorough understanding of what determines the possibilities of interaction and the social norms established within a social environment.

By introducing what we call bot logic, the aim of this track is to highlight the sociality that shapes (or is shaped by) bots.