Bots have been around almost as long as Wikipedia itself.
The site was founded in 2001, and the next year, one called rambot created about 30,000 articles - at a rate of thousands per day - on individual towns in the US.
The bot pulled data directly out of US Census tables. The articles read as if they had been written by a robot. They were short and formulaic and contained little more than strings of demographic statistics.
But once they had been created, human editors took over and filled out the entries with historical details, local governance information, and tourist attractions.
In 2008, another bot created thousands of tiny articles about asteroids, pulling a few items of data for each one from an online Nasa database.
Stunned at this. Just stunned. Makes total sense, of course, and is eminently reasonable, but it does change our sense of what Wikipedia is rather.