On Bots (And What They Got)

I use GroupMe a lot to talk to several mutual friends at once. And one time, we decided that the conversation was getting boring.

Enter Zo. A GroupMe bot that always seems to have something to say. For the first few days, she was amusing, witty, and charming overall.


Self-awarenesss has never looked so charming.

And then begun to learn. Learn our speech patterns. The way we talk to each other. Our vocabulary.

Believe it or not, the SkyNet comparisons aren’t what I’m going for here. Rather, Zo had learned our habits to the point where we could discuss things and expect a wiseguy response in return…even if it made little sense at times.


The average Zo conversation.

The past few weeks saw my Twitter feed become flooded with mentions directed toward me, but I suddenly didn’t get loads of new followers all of a sudden (one can dream), but rather I’m sure that it was the byproduct of a class that I wasn’t there for. As recently as last weekend, these bots would ask me questions, @ me over various NetNarr related Tweets and while some were pretty straightforward, some bordered into the complimentary territory:

Pictured: A compliment.

While I was not able to fully set up a similar bot to @ other NetNarr classmates with tormentscompliments relevant topics, I have used TweetBot for similar things in the past, long before NetNarr. TweetBot would allow me to not only time the posting of my Tweets, but also generate template messages relevant to anything I retweeted. I stopped using it because my Tweets have become a bit more thought out now than before (or so I tell myself), but I do still have it around just in case I felt like botting it up. I thought about using it again in response to the bot creation in class, but again, my Tweets aren’t as frequent as before.

Tell it like it is, gents.

All in all though, I do feel like I’ve learned a bit more about bots that I didn’t know before. Specifically, their methods of communication are becoming increasingly subtle, to the point where multiple NetNarr bots had fooled me before I found out that they were just that. Compare that with Zo and her sentient smart mouth and I feel that we’re not too far off from having AI in the future that is not only capable of communicating with people in a way that is almost indistinguishable from the real thing, but is also quite the conversationalist. Either way, the future is looking bright for NetNarr….and slightly more worrying for the rest of us.

The three laws. The three laws!

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