Science Bots

To unify the ongoing trends towards high-performance computation and large-scale collaboration (including citizen science), I propose to create a simple framework centered on "bots", i.e. autonomous software agents. Such bots are small independent pieces of software that look for a particular kind of input and apply a specific, programmed task on it (e.g. tagging images, text mining, logical inferences, fixing simple mistakes) without further interaction with their creators. Such bots already exist, for example, in Wikipedia and Twitter, but in my view they have not been given the attention they deserve to advance science. Provenance and metadata can be attached to bots and their contributions, and we can let them participate in a reputation system together with human users, meaning that bots/humans who make low-quality contributions are downgraded by other participants. Using building blocks provided by others and domain-specific intuitive interfaces, even non-techically-oriented users such as citizen scientists could create their own bots. Positive reputation given to these bots would also shine on their owners, motivating them to contribute to this system, while negative reputation will allow us to filter out low-quality data.
Submitter name(s): 
Tobias Kuhn
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