We Need to Talk About Kevin: My Attempt to Build a Trustworthy Twitter Bot

We Need to Talk About Kevin: My Attempt to Build a Trustworthy Twitter Bot

Kevin Brown’s twitter profile (@kevbrown618) describes him as a 26 year old progressive from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He’s an active member of #TheResistance and readily contributes to liberal social media campaigns such as #FireHanity (an effort to convince Fox News host Sean Hannity’s sponsors to turn their backs on his program, effectively stripping it of funding). His insights earned him retweets and likes by CNN contributor Jason Kander and hundreds of other people; his content has been seen over 131,000 times in just over 6 weeks.

Kevin is a pretty popular guy. He is also a Twitter bot.

8 Years of Emails from Barack Obama (.com)

8 Years of Emails from Barack Obama (.com)

I’m a digital hoarder. It’s not something I’m proud of, but when the cost of storing an email or file is so cheap I don’t see any reason to re-examine my “just in case I need it later” policy. As a result, I’ve accumulated about 53,000 emails since I signed up for my current Gmail account back in 2008.

Among those emails were almost 2,000 that I had gotten from BarackObama.com. With Obama’s time in office coming to an end next month, I thought examining these emails might be an interesting and different way of looking back over the time he’s been in office.

Using Artificial Intelligence to Draw Electoral Maps

Using Artificial Intelligence to Draw Electoral Maps

Over the past few days, I’ve been playing with a script I built that attempts to build electoral vote maps using a genetic algorithm. Genetic algorithms are a computational method used to efficiently find solutions to complex problems. They do this by measuring how well a set of attempts perform against a quantified goal. Those that perform better are combined to create a new “generation”. This causes the population to “evolve” to better achieve the goal. The process is repeated for a set number of generations or until there is no longer significant improvement from one generation to the next.