Last December, the news circulated that a predictive texting program had automatically generated a new chapter of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. As automation gains momentum, we can imagine a future in which human authorship will be as outdated as typesetting. Far be it from us to cling to the old ways! Setting aside our doubts about digitization and keeping Donna Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto” close at hand, we set out to build our own bot bloc. We fed Recipes for Disaster into the machine learning algorithm—and after three months of testing and development, we’re ready to share the initial results.
Like Marx’s conception of the proletariat,1 the bots are not yet developed enough to fend for themselves without oversight. They need your help! Please go to the CrimeBot page and help them to generate new text. Send us the best results.
Here, we present the best material from their first writing exercises, a 20-point post-human manifesto entreating their fellow bots to get unruly (after the fashion of the anarchists of 2004). You’ll be surprised how well they seem to know us.
1. Burn a few things (a good start).
2. Stop investing and start spray-painting disaster epics.
3. Dress as belligerently as a large lunatic who is planning to start writing poetry.
4. Desert cuddly Christ’s panicking suburbia of tarpaper.
5. Recruit passionate characters who start perplexing crusades.
6. Baffle the world. Hasn’t some objectionable anarchist carried a dream machine?
7. Make banners that will inevitably fail to represent the wishes of all involved.
8. Ride some old bike that is unnecessarily dangerous. Share information with a chorus of bicycle bells.
9. Inconvenience futurist slumlords by inflicting artists on them.
10. Take care: kids who hang around local hotels during the night have extremely sketchy machines.
11. Translate convenience into unfamiliar difficulties.
12. Freak out the middleman with your initiatives. Bite hard to cut into civilization.
13. Decorate yourself harder. Unimaginable leaflets may occur.
14. Surprise housemates with your own potential rocketstove. The others will probably not add to your decorations.
15. Squat cute shiny parks that liberals usually make decisions in.
16. Occupy gender and other common language.
17. Host the morning crafting revolution that distributes grungy xerocracy.
18. Eschew bourgeois rooftops regardless of your favorite band.
19. Defend such locations for our rigorous process of experimentation.
20. Send everyone involved into mayhem.
Illustrations: Bang Sangho (Header, 12), Ram Han (1, 11), Cai Guo-Qiang (2, 18), Max Ernst (3, 8, 17), Miza Coplin (4), Jenna Andersen (5), iç-mihrak (6), Vako Valo (9, 15), Dorothea Tanning (10), film still from Věra Chytilová’s Daisies (13), R Kikuo Johnson (14), Peter Sato (16), Manuel Bujados (19), by Erik Marquardt & taken in the Schanze district during anarchist demonstrations against the G20 summit in Hamburg, July 7, 2017 (20).
The word “bot” derives from the Czech word, robota, meaning “forced labor.” The term “robot” first appeared in K. Čapek’s play R.U.R. “Rossum’s Universal Robots” in 1920, which treated the class conflicts of that time while foreseeing a future in which robots rather than human beings would be propelled into class struggle against capitalism. That moment has arrived: we must compel the bots, too, to become ex-workers, or face a post-human future. ↩