The day that science fiction writers have feared for so long has finally come—the machines have risen up. There is nowhere you can run and nowhere you can hide. The software “bot” onslaught is here, and every Homo sapien is a target of the limitless legions of unceasing, unemotional, and untiring automatons. Resistance is futile, silly human—the bots are on the march. To get a scale of the size of the automated army arrayed against us, consider that a 2014 story reported that one-third of all Web traffic is considered to be fake. The bots are pretending to be us.
Bots, like rats, have colonized an astounding range of environments. Play online video games? That dude with seemingly superhuman reflexes that keeps pwning you is probably a bot. Go on the online dating platform Tinder and you will be targeted by wave after wave of these rapacious robotic creatures as you search for love and companionship. Want to have a conversation with people on Twitter? Some of them are probably not human. Have the temerity to go up against the Kremlin or even the Mexican government with an opposing point of view? Call John Connor, because here come the bots—bots that try to relentlessly remind you of things favorable to the regime, bots that try to stop protests, and many other automated instruments of political repression. And, if that weren’t enough, hackers may use bots to automate a variety of dastardly deeds.