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Book description

Bots – automated software applications programmed to perform tasks online – have become a feature of our everyday lives, from helping us navigate online systems to assisting us with online shopping. Yet, despite enabling internet users, bots are increasingly associated with disinformation and concerning political intervention.

In this ground-breaking book, Monaco and Woolley offer the first comprehensive overview of the history of bots, tracing their varied applications throughout the past sixty years and bringing to light the astounding influence these computer programs have had on how humans understand reality, communicate with each other, and wield power. Drawing upon the authors' decade of experience in the field, this book examines the role bots play in politics, social life, business, and artificial intelligence. Despite bots being a fundamental part of the web since the early 1990s, the authors reveal how the socially oriented ones continue to play an integral role in online communication globally, especially as our daily lives become increasingly automated.

This timely book is essential reading for students and scholars in Media and Communication Studies, Sociology, Politics, and Computer Science, as well as general readers with an interest in technology and public affairs.

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250 pp.
John Wiley & Sons Limited
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