Now here is an excellent use of technology.
Nigel Leck, a software developer by day, was tired of arguing with anti-science crackpots on Twitter. So, like any good programmer, he wrote a script to do it for him.
The result is the Twitter chatbot @AI_AGW. Its operation is fairly simple: Every five minutes, it searches twitter for several hundred set phrases that tend to correspond to any of the usual tired arguments about how global warming isn’t happening or humans aren’t responsible for it.
It then spits back at the twitterer who made that argument a canned response culled from a database of hundreds. The responses are matched to the argument in question — tweets about how Neptune is warming just like the earth, for example, are met with the appropriate links to scientific sources explaining why that hardly constitutes evidence that the source of global warming on earth is a warming sun.
I like this approach. It’s got lots of other applications. Now, let me see: where shall we start? There’s all that gibbering about how the bond markets will come for us if Osborne doesn’t slash public spending. And then there’s the bleating of the Irish government about how the country’s situation is “manageable”. And there’s the fantastical vapourings of the Intellectual Property lobbies…