Online bots – are they all bad?

When you hear the word bot you typically fear the worst. It’s likely you imagine them to be hackers or fraudsters, right? However, it isn’t always the case that online bots are bad. Sometimes, they can actually serve a purpose. But, how do you tell?

Robots marching GIF

What is a bot?

Bots are made up of computer software. Rather than being physical things, they live on our devices. They are either autonomous or semi autonomous computer programs that can perform tasks set to them. The creator will set the tasks, and they will continue to repeat them until told otherwise. This is how they can go unnoticed because it’s essentially on a loop.

They’re made up of codes, so they perform tasks much quicker than a human could. They can simply keep going providing the server doesn’t get interrupted. It isn’t a case of bots being good or bad within themselves. It’s all about what they’re coded to do. This is where it’s completely up to the person who programs them.

What is a good bot?

Good bots are everywhere, and it’s important to know this. Often people hear bot and think the worst. They presume they’re going to hack or scam a system and destroy processes. However, good bots are used frequently in everyday life. Each time you come across customer service out of hours, it’s probably a bot. The ones who provide you with tips and tricks before you can speak with a real human, they’re all bots.

Bots simply allow humans to complete other tasks. They take on a large workload that takes the pressure off employees. Typically, once a bot has exhausted its limited knowledge or resources, you will be advised to pursue the issue further and will be passed along to a human. Often bots are used within chat rooms to monitor language and conversations. They can block or remove users who are breaking rules.

What is a bad bot?

Bad bots are designed to cause destruction. Whoever has designed them wants to cause damage. The damage they are able to cause is huge. They can create fake accounts across social media and spam users or brands to destroy their reputation. Often they’ll be used for phishing schemes. Their aim would be to get their hands on information which is private and personal and could be used to cause someone harm.

They are a huge issue across social media. With the ability to get accounts blocks or sway statistics and ruin user engagement, it’s no surprise they are feared. If certain bots get their hands on information about real users accounts, they can use this to take over the account and destroy that person’s social presence.

A life without bots?

It doesn’t look like we’ll ever see a life without bots again. This is actually a good thing. It means we’ve come a really long way with technology, and now we have added bonuses that free up time for humans. We’re able to focus on the bigger, more important tasks, while knowing the bots can run processes in the background. Unfortunately, with all good things, people find a way to make them negative.

We’re not getting rid of good bots, but this also means the bad ones are around for good too. Social platforms and the internet space in general are doing their best to battle them and keep their spaces safe. However, with new bots being created all the time, it’s a war they aren’t going to win. While we could hope for a world without bad bots, unfortunately that isn’t going to happen. Instead, we should ensure we are educated into what harm they can do. That way we will all be a little more prepared and can hopefully avoid getting caught in bad bots traps.

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