Geeks Use Bots To Score Exclusive Restaurant Reservations

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
What happens when you live in a city with a significant computer-savvy population and a very active social scene? Creative problem solving through tech, is what happens.

Consider: Apparently restaurants in San Francisco can be so popular that it's near impossible to score a reservation. And in fact, that might be more an issue of computer bots than humans. Or, more specifically, bots acting on behalf of humans. It turns out that people have been writing bots to track the reservations websites of more popular restaurants, alerting the bot writers to openings and cancellations.

According to this BBC article, programmer Diogo Monica realized what was going on one day when his own bot alerted him to openings that were scooped up from under him within minutes.
"It quickly became obvious that these were reservation bots at work," he said. This was making it all but impossible for anyone to get a table at SBP which is almost always fully booked, up to 60 days ahead.

In retaliation, Mr Monica wrote his own reservation bot and has started to regularly get a table at SBP.

He told the BBC that he knew of other programmers using bots to snap up tables at many restaurants in and around the Valley and added that there were also websites, such as Hacker Table, that let anyone automate the process of grabbing a table.
I love that his answer to being scooped was to write a better bot. Fighting code with more code. It's like nerd warfare. Love it.

I can't figure out if this bot-haviour constitute as using one's gifts for good or evil? The geek in me loves the ingenuity but the foodie-wannabe in me... honestly, she's just jealous they have the skillz to outsmart the rest of the patrons - LOL.

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