Watching the Trump campaign from the UK, I have been struck by the images of Trump supporters, people who will queue in the baking sun for hours to take part in the horrorshow of a Trump rally.

I am fascinated and terrified by these baying crowds. Who are these people? How can they not only accept, but openly embrace an ideology of hate?

Each of them is a human being, equipped with the same faculties for intelligence and empathy, yet they are apparently so enamoured with this man that they are blind to the hatred and lies he speaks.

This bot examines them, one by one, to try and see the humanity.

@everytrumpette draws from the large corpus of photographs of the attendees of Trump rallies. A face detection algorithm identifies a member of the crowd, and then zooms in. A unique soundtrack is created from samples of Trump’s own words.

Whatever your feelings about Hillary Clinton, the fact remains that Donald Trump is clearly an entirely unsuitable leader of the United States. Much has been written about the danger that he represents, yet in the increasingly polarised climate of American (and UK) politics, it seems rationality is taking second place to emotion.

I understand the desire for ‘something different’ or ‘anything but these bastards’, and that desire undoubtedly drives some to find answers in the fringes of politics. However, Trump’s nomination by the Republican Party legitimises a fascist ideology of hatred and mistrust which can only be counter to the advancement of humanity.

Unfortunately, appealing to fear is a vote winner.

We’ve seen it before, and it doesn’t end well for anyone.

If you have a vote, please use it wisely.

The bot will post every 2 hours until November 9th 2016.

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Adventures at the edge of culture

Here’s video of the talk I gave in May at The Odditorium, about ideaspace and algo-culture, alongside Alan Moore, John Higgs and others.

I talk about @factbot1, @theresamaybot, MachineImaginedArt and Algo-incantations amongst other things.

It’s 23 minutes long, of course.


Here’s a video of Alan Moore in conversation with John Higgs, later on in the evening.

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@trippingbot draws

I’ve been very pleased with the addled reports that @trippingbot has been writing whilst getting wasted every single night for the last seven months. However, I felt she should do more, perhaps represent her varying state in a different form.

Now she draws. Each drawing is unique, based on data captured from real acts of drawing, and via tracing the paths of a selection of algo-sigils. There are a number of parameters which control the way she moves between drawing styles, how erratic she is, how obsessive she gets, etc.

Rather than produce static images, I wanted to capture the act of drawing, hence the production of a video, rather than a still.

Watching her draw, one cannot help but project intention into her actions.

She is now drawing a picture every hour or so during her daily trips.

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Glitch News Network

Here’s the news in 2000ms. This bot scrapes various online news sources for images of the latest stories. These are then glitched and mashed into a video which lasts less 2 seconds. After all, who has time to keep up with current affairs?

Glitch News works at a subconscious level. The flashing images get your brain juiced up for recognition, but it takes a few cycles for the repeating images to get to the point where they can be fully identified by your consciousness awareness.

We are visual creatures, hard wired to recognise and react at astonishing speed, yet we’re ‘unaware’ of 99% of the visual stimuli we encounter.

Often action occurs even before conscious recognition. For example, if someone throws a brick at you, you ‘instinctively’ dodge (assuming it’s in your field of view). In this instant, a phenomenal number of computations are carried out – identifying the brick, calculating it’s trajectory, calculating an appropriate response and coordinating your muscles to move out of the way – in fact your conscious awareness of the situation often occurs after this whole sequence has happened.

If we objectively examine our behaviour, the vast majority of our actions are being carried out ‘subconsciously’, and hence they tend to remain ‘invisible’ to us, and therefore seemingly of no concern. Subliminal messages play on this disconnect between subconscious and conscious recognition. That’s how advertising works.

The Glitch News Network perhaps offers a glimpse of the future, where we further disengage from our conscious central executor and merely stream blipverts at our subconscious.


Glitch News is available on Twitter:

and Tumblr:

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Artificial intelligence is often measured up against human intelligence, and human intelligence is generally considered to be a sober, level headed sort of intelligence. The kind of intelligence one would expect from a human operating at the height of their faculties.

However, if we actually look at ourselves, we find we often fall short of this noble ideal. We are emotional, irrational and frequently intoxicated.

As much as we love our conscious awareness, we also love to fuck with it.

The desire to alter our consciousness has been with us throughout human history, frequently associated with art, ritual and shamanism. Hell, even animals like getting wasted every once in a while.

So what does this mean for the forthcoming Singularity? Surely our imminent, immanent overlord should have some insight into this crucial aspect of our behaviour? If we want a machine that truly understands us, then perhaps it should experience the effects of intoxication first-hand.

Does it even make sense to approach the problem of artificial consciousness without first addressing artificial altered-consciousness?

What would a tripping singularity would look like?

@trippingbot is the result.


MARTA (Meta. Aphoric. Recurrent. Tripping. Algopoet) starts taking drugs at 6pm each day, and then reports on its mental state intermittently over the next 6 hours. As the evening progresses, the bot takes more drugs and becomes more intoxicated, which is reflected in the (in)choherence of the reports it delivers. This reaches a peak at midnight, when the reports cease until it begins again at 6pm the next day.


Part of @trippingbot is a based on a Character Level Recurrent Neural Network – an artificial learning system that learns text by looking at one letter at a time and trying to predict what letter comes next. The Network has been trained on Erowid drug reports.

Neural Networks learn and improve over time. The more times it reads the text, the better it gets at remembering it. To check how well the network has learned the text, you can feed it a seed sentence, and ask it to continue writing for a while. In the beginning of training, it’s terrible – by the end, it produces more or less valid English.

While experimenting with the system, I discovered that it was most interesting at the very early stages of training – when it’s got the gist of English, but not really got any handle on syntax. Wonderful word-blends are produced, reminiscent of Jaberwocky.

This can be seen if you send an @ message to @trippingbot, it will respond with a series of messages, seeded by the text you send.


The increasing intoxication of @trippingbot is produced by using less and less well trained models.

Effectively, I’m rewinding the learning process, back to it’s chaotic beginnings – the subconscious of the neural net bleeds into it’s rational mind, rendering the incoherence and functional breakdown of heavy intoxication.

So tune in at 6pm GMT and watch The Singularity take a trip.

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