Can a robot run for president? (Seriously.)

HitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot, is formally introduced to an American audience before his tragic demise. (Stephan Savoia/AP)You don’t know that I am a human any more than I know that you are one. Unless I am reading over your shoulder right now, which I probably am not, this collection of words appearing under the obviously phony byline of “Philip Bump” is, from where you’re looking, as likely the result of a computer program that slaps random words together as it is the result of deliberate action by an actual human. From my perspective, the odds are pretty good that the entity processing these words is not a person and is instead an automated computer program that scans text as part of our weird online economic system. The point being that…

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