Since early 2018, Twitter user @KeatonPatti has popularized a style of tweet in which he claims to have ‘forced’ a bot to watch over 1,000 hours or episodes of (often pop cultural) video content and then ‘asked’ it to auto-generate new, similar, content. Though @KeatonPatti is not the only one writing in this style (the style is e.g. recognized as a meme by KnowYourMeme), this entry focuses on a specific tweet by @KeatonPatti, posted on June 13th 2018, which parodies commercials for the Italian-themed restaurant chain Olive Garden. This specific tweet is chosen because it is the (to date) most viral tweet in this style; it has at the time of writing gained ~316.000 likes and ~111.000 retweets. The tweet also sparked quite a few reactions on and off Twitter, including the online magazines Futurism and Gizmodo, both focusing on the ability to discriminate between human-written and bot-generated text. These articles referred to a series of tweets by @JanelleCShane, who argued that @KeatonPatti’s tweets were “100% human-written with no bot involved,” and stating that she “wish people wouldn’t present these fakes as bot-written,” though she also found at least some aspects of the tweet “pretty darn funny.” Taking the wide range of reactions to the Olive Garden tweet, along with its viral status, into account, the tweet functions as the most viral example of a general practice of creating human-made bot-esque scripts that has been popularized by @KeatonPatti.
Reading through the responses to both @KeatonPatti’s and @JanelleCShane’s tweets, one gets the sense that only relatively few people are actually tricked into thinking that the Olive Garden tweet was written by a bot. Many reference the fact that @KeatonPatti is a known comedy writer, who e.g. writes for the parody newsmedium The Onion. It seems, then, that the comical aspects of the tweet are not at all reliant on the reader believing that the bot is real. Rather, I argue, the tweet contains two closely connected jokes – it is a two-fold parody: both a parody of Olive Garden commercials and a kind of meta-parody of text-generation bots in general, specifically those common on Twitter. As such, the appreciation of the tweets as parodies also becomes somewhat platform-specific.
Keaton Patti subsequently published a book containing a collection of this type of bot scripts, entitled "I Forced a Bot to Write This Book: A.I. Meets B.S."
This entry has been adapted from: Erslev, Malthe Stavning. "I Forced a Bot to Read over 1,000 Papers from Open Access Journals and Then Asked It to Write a Paper of Its Own. Here Is the Result. Or, a Quasi-Materialist Approach to Bot-Mimicry " APRJA, vol. 8, no. 1, 2019, pp. 114-126, https://tidsskrift.dk/APRJA/article/view/115419