A flock of Twitter robots are being created to spread messages of peace this UN International Day of Peace, thanks in part to pupils in a Nelson secondary school.
Sixteen pupils from Marsden Heights Community College in Brierfield were trained to develop their own Twitter robots, which will tweet messages of peace as part of a campaign by the peacebuilding charity International Alert and the social enterprise Build Up.
The #RobotsForPeace campaign aims to reach as many people as possible with peace messages, and to get #peaceday trending on or around the UN International Day of Peace.
The students are also acting as campaign ambassadors, talking to their peers and spreading messages of peace via posters at the school throughout this week.
On Saturday, the students and the developers from International Alert will reconvene at the school, in a session which will host local councillors and members of the public.
They will discuss ways to build peace in the community and counter Islamophobic messages, and will talk about how they built their robots for peace.
The campaign has also set up a website(Peacebots.org) which gives people advice on how to build a bot.
Dan Marsh, Head of Technology at International Alert said: “Bots are used to provide and promote services and sometimes to mimic human interaction. They’ve been used in various ways, ranging from platforms for political parties and during elections right through to light-hearted efforts such as tweeting poetry and ordering pizza.”
“It really sounds awesome to have a bot that spreads the message of peace”, said Hammad Ali, one of the participating students.
“I thought I wasn’t going to understand and it was going to be really complicated but I learnt much quicker than I thought”, said Halima Ayub, another student.
Robots for Peace is part of International Alert’s Talking Peace Festival, a global arts and cultural platform designed to engage people in issues of peace and conflict around the world.
Now in its fourth year, the festival celebrates the International Day of Peace and showcases the power of creativity in resolving conflict.