The Lab

Codepunk has always been about experimenting with new and interesting technology, seeing how far it can be taken, and understanding how that technology impacts culture. The original hacker ethic was based on the idea of pushing systems to see how far you could take them, and a closed system was an invitation to explore. When the work of the East coast crowd at MIT began influencing experiments out West--an area highly captivated by the growing counterculture--computing became even more entwined with politics and ideology. Thought experiments about the future of human-computer interaction led to cybernetic research that spawned genres such as cyberpunk and even self-help theories from books like Dianetics and Psycho-Cybernetics.

Eventually Stewart Brand combined all of these loosely coupled ideas into the subject matter of his Whole Earth Catalog, while later, Fred Moore helped not only found the Homebrew Computer Club, but his activism helped shape the free software movement.

Computer science and culture have a fascinating history, and many of those who grew up with computers in the 80's--such as Bill and myself--were a part of a subculture that saw hacking (in its traditional sense) as a right-of-passage and creation as a necessity.

The Codepunk Lab is a soundboard for these experiments.

The Codepunk Bot

If the conversation UI is the next frontier, Microsoft's Bot Framework is a pretty robust tool for putting together bots that connect to various services. Building a bot is easy, but building a useful one is another story. Continued growth in natural language processing and machine learning should change all that.

This bot isn't one of those useful ones. It's meant as a demo to show how easy building a bot can be. It parses the web site RSS feed, and will send a thumbnail card or audio card (that's playable) when you ask for the latest blog post or podcast episode.

(Photo by cat_collector)