The Hacking of Reality

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The Hacking of Reality
Name The Hacking of Reality
Location De Bonte Zwaan
Date 2018/07/30
Time 13:00-17:00
PeopleOrganisations Jaroslav Toussaint, Vera van de Seyp
Type HDSA2018
Web Yes
Print No

We can not talk about fake news without at least implicitly defining what is real: the one does not exist without the other. To approach the question of what is real and fake or true and false, methods of reasoning — such as dialectics — can be helpful. Invented in antiquity as a way of making productive arguments, dialectics was used in modern times as a description of reality as a system of intertwined antagonisms in a constant struggle for resolve. This method of thinking laid the foundation for one of the most powerful ideologies of the 20th century: socialism, its view on history and its analysis of capitalism. However, the dialectical method — mostly in twisted forms — had also been applied to legitimize the horrors of fascism. Explaining reality as strong contradictions needing resolve recently regained popularity amongst today's so-called “alt-right” neo-fascist movements.

After a short introduction to the theory of dialectics and how to identify dialectical contradictions, we discussed how this way of reasoning could be useful to our understanding of real and fake in our own environment.

In an exercise we worked in small groups on chatbots with dialectical reasoning as a method to reveal the absurdities of contradictions between real and fake we come across in our daily life.

Making a Contradiction — Dialectic Twitter Bot tutorial


  • Setting up a Twitter account
  • Making a Twitter application
    • Go to the app page of Twitter.
    • If not done before, verify your mail address.
    • Add a name for your app 4. In the Description field, you can add: "Dialectic chatbot that replies to messages."
    • Add your own URL or the hackers and designers url as a Website
    • In the App usage field you can copy this text: "This app is used for a workshop to experiment with chatbots. It is merely a test and will run for a short amount of time. It is using dialectic reasoning to make people think about the statements they make on Twitter. It will not use people's data but only reply to messages it is searching for with a simple algorithm."
    • You can find the keys under the tab Keys and tokens.
  • Getting your Twitter authentication codes
    • Go to the app page of Twitter.
    • Select your app by clicking on the Details button.
    • Go to the tab Keys and tokens.
    • If you haven't done it yet, you can generate a key by clicking on the (re)generate button.
    • There you go!
  • Twitter search cheatsheet and social cheatsheet.

Dialogflow Programming skills: * | dialectic capacity: ***

  • For a detailed step-by-step program, go to this tutorial.
  • Sign up to using a 
Google account.
  • Click on Create agent and give it 
a name.
  • Make questions and replies in Intents.
  • Connect the bot to your Twitter account. Here is how to do that.
  • If you want to start with an example, here is a bot that you can import into your own Dialogflow environment .

Processing Programming skills: ** | dialectic capacity: **

  • Install Processing.
  • Download this Processing library that mimics an ELIZA bot 
and place it in your libraries folder.

  • Integrate the Processing Twitter library by placing it in your libraries folder.

  • Download a monologue example and a reply example to your sketches folder if you want a head start.
  • Edit the Twitter authentification codes.
  • Edit the ELIZA bot interaction in the commented code in void setup() according to the instructions.

  • Find a fitting way to interact online. The Twitter cheatsheet is over here.

Node.js Programming skills: *** | dialectic capacity: *

  • Download Node.js
  • Copy this file and save it. Edit the authentication codes for Twitter. 

  • Replace #WhateverYouWant
YourHashtagToBe with the hashtag or text you want to follow.
  • Replace var statusObj = {status: “Hi @” + tweet.user.screen_name + “, Whatever your reply is”} with the message you want to send.

  • In Terminal/Powershell, insert the following codes after pressing enter:

   $ cd [path/to/your/botfolder/]

   $ npm install twitter

   $ node bot.js

  • See the answers coming in real-time! If your hashtag is not that popular, it might take a while before it runs. Press CTRL+C stop the terminal from fetching.

Link to more chatbot integrations Link to the presentation PDF