Bots are our old network friends, present in IRC chats, on-line games, and on the web. "The first indigenous species of cyberspace", according to Wired journalist Andrew Leonard. They proliferate, are more and more complex, and cause as many problems as they try to resolve. Whether they operate in the background or demand our attention, they have colonized an incredible variety of environments. They represent the armed wing of our data society, increasingly more efficient, to such a point that certain voices sound the alarm of the rise of a vast inhuman machine on auto-pilot.
We will retrace the history and try to outline a taxinomy of these "narrow artificial intelligences". From Eliza, the grandmother of all chatterbots to the silent bot army of Wikipedia, from bot wars in IRC networks to Twitterbots employed by the Mexican government to silence opposition, from seductive bimbots of online dating sites to high-frequency trading bots, from criminal botnets to artistic bot pro