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Future Tech: 

This Twitter bot predicts the future


Predicting the future, one tweet at a time.

Whether it’s hopeful guesswork about the gadgets of the future, or hopeless doom-mongering around their possible impact – people love to predict what’s next. We can’t help ourselves. It’s fascinating to think about and, really, the reason that this website exists.

Twitter, of course, is a great place to see future forecasts and theories flung about on a daily basis. Now, it’s even easier to read them all, thanks to a Twitter bot designed to be something like the crystal ball of the internet.

It’s called @thesefutures, and it was created by the futurists over at Motherboard. They teamed up with Ranjit Bhatnagar (whose something of an expert at this kind of thing), to create a Twitter bot that spends its day spewing out soundbites on where humanity might be heading. Sometimes its funny, often it’s nonsense, but occasionally it’s oddly poignant.

How it works

The bot works in three different ways. Firstly, it scans Twitter for other users’ thoughtful predictions and retweets them. Secondly, it randomly tweets from a database of speculations from famous people – including everyone from David Byrne to Don DeLillo. Lastly, and most challengingly, it creates its own predictions using commonly used futuristic terms written in predictive templates. For instance, “[corporation x] will drive [animal y] extinct”

The results are varied, but compelling to follow – creating a strange microcosm of our future thinking. Here are some examples of each kind of @thesefutures tweet:

Type A – Retweets

Type B – Database

Type C – Generated

In just a few scrolls of its timeline, the bot generates a broad range of tweets – from intimate, personal thoughts to wider predictions about tech and the future.

To learn more about @thesefutures and how it was created, read the full story on Motherboard.

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