A stylized robot face made of the letters F and T.

Object Lessons


Ian Bogost approached us looking to refocus the Object Lessons Twitter account and make it more of a reflection of the book series. After some discussion, we all decided that having the account itself write pitches for books would be a good use for a publishing imprint's Twitter presence.


The bot works by querying Wikipedia like a database. It traverses what Wikipedia knows about various objects in the world and attempts to make true statements or pose questions based on this knowledge.

Post Mortem

Getting the voice and tone of a bot right is often the subtlest, hardest part of making a bot, and this was certainly true for this project. The Wikipedia ontologies we were querying are a motley data set, and not terribly internally consistent. For future projects using this kind of data, it would make sense to incorporate Tracery grammars, which would let us fine-tune the tone while maintaining the interesting data connections.


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