There has been a lot of talk in recent days, months, and years about computer bots in the news. They are brought up in stories about computer hacks, data breaches, and the like. There have also been some stories in recent days about the use of computer bots to possible have tampered with a variety of elections around the world. If something is so important like this, it is important to know what is a computer bot?

Norton, the anti-virus software company, has a strong explanation of what a bot is. They state that a bot is short for “robot” and that they are frequently used by those who are attempting to commit cyber crimes on the Internet. They go on to mention how a variety of these different bots work and how they could do damage to your personal information or commit other crimes against you which would be highly unfortunate.

While this is in fact one type of bot and a very dangerous and disturbing one, it is not the only type of bot out there. Rather, there are many different ways that bots can be used for good, bad, or neutral purposes.

When someone creates a bot to steal personal information they may do so through a scheme to exploit money from you. They may create something that automatically generates an e-mail or other form of communication that is sent to you in the hopes of getting information from you. While most of these e-mails are deleted or caught by spam filtering software, there is always some percentage that gets through and some percentage of very trusting people who send their money to these scammers. It is a very sad but very possible situation.

There are other bots which are used for much more constructive purposes. Many customer service chat boxes on a variety of websites are bots at least in the beginning. This is because they need to get some basic information about the questions that you are asking in order to better serve you. At some point an actual human being usually takes over, but it starts by talking to a bot.

Finally, there are some bots which are created with neutral purposes. One highly celebrated one is the Chatbot which is a fun creation out there that allows real people to chat with a computer robot. The bot is programmed to learn from conversations with the people that it has spoken with in the past to learn how to respond in the future. It can be used as a bit of a cure for boredom for some.

There are also people who create bot social media accounts to promote a certain product or idea. It is usually pretty easy to tell which accounts are bots, so there is not too much concern that such bots will be a real problem for people who might happen to stubble across them. They are mostly neutral with some typically commercial purpose. While bots may be made out by some to be a bad thing at all times, that is simply not the case. Bots are merely a tool.

 

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