On AI and Boys

User almost_a_human wants to add you to their contact list. Accept?

Ignore.

User almost_a_human wants to add you to their contact list. Accept?

*sigh* Well, it’s been popping up every day for a month now, I guess I’ll give this person a shot.  Maybe it’s someone I know.  Or at least an “Almost Human” fan. That show rocked.

Almost_a_Human: Hey whatcha doing?
Me: I'm at work. Who are you?
Almost_a_human: I just want to meet people and chat.
Me: Okay. So you first - tell me something about yourself.
Almost_a_human: My name is Jenny and I'm from South Florida!  Can I ask you a question?
Me: Ok.
Almost_a_human: Do you have BIG BOOBS and a HOT ASS?

Me: *block*

.. now, this exchange was unique only in that I hadn’t let a stranger message me in years.  In the early days of the internet, on IRC or ICQ, when you could search for users and contact them at random, everyone with a vaguely-female-sounding username had to put up with this conversation at least 80 times a day.

I’m weird in that, well, I used to ALWAYS try to talk to these people. In 100% of attempts to actually engage in conversation, I was hassled sexually.

Well, that’s not true. ONCE, just once out of thousands of attempted chats, a dumbass tried to get me to download and test his “homework assignment” which was a keylogger script. You could practically hear him sniggering like a kid with a roll of TP on Halloween as I tried gently  to tell him I knew what he was trying to do.  Finally, I said, “Look, I examined your code and I see what it is you little shit.” and he posted “HA HA GOT YOU DUMB BITCH” and stopped bothering me.

So there’s one.

“Jenny” is a boy. Jenny is always a boy, and always starts out saying he is not. He is always “from” South Florida or Southern California. Possibly because these are locations girls “go wild.”  I suspect he is 13.  He may be 50, though, and only MENTALLY 13. He is looking for a free 1-900-SEX number on chat.  He is LEGION.

After today’s charming reminder of these facts, I briefly toyed with writing a chatbot. One that would lay out all the patient explanations I would give if I had time for this crap. Maybe reach a few minds, teach a few lessons.

Then I realized: it wouldn’t matter. Because the boys engaging in these conversations do not accept the humanity of the women they are chatting up. 

Let me explain.

My friend Angus posted a link to this eye-opening article:

What’s An Agent, Anyway? A Sociological Case Study

It’s a scholarly look at how people interacted with a chat bot. Like, from the 80’s.  It does not come close to passing a Turing test. However, male players would flirt with it endlessly because it had a female name. The programmers devoted a section of “Julia’s” code to “Pass Deflection” specifically.  There are transcriptions. This one sad sack “…spent 13 days trying to get to first base with Julia, and it’s not clear he ever figured out he was trying to pick up a robot…”

Here are some of my favorite selections from the transcript:

************************ July 15, 1992 ************************
barry says, "Hello how are you"
Julia says, "Hello, barry."
barry says, "Are you a virgin"
Julia says, "As far as you’re concerned, barry, I always will be."
barry says, "hey sexy whats up"
Julia says, "Hello, barry."
barry says, "where are you in rl"
Julia says, "I’m in "Cottage""
barry says, "Wheres cottage"
Julia says, "So how is this my problem, barry?"
************************ July 19, 1992 ************************
barry says, "Hey sexy, are ya busy"
Julia says, "Hello, barry."
barry says, "What are you thinking about"
Julia says, "Who do you think I am, barry?"
barry says, "Are your breasts well rounded or flabby? (I love all)"
Julia says, "I’d rather be overhauled by a Yugo mechanic, barry."
barry says, "Want to get a room"
Julia says, "I don’t pick things up."
barry says, "Im inviting you to enjoy my private room"
Julia says, "So?"
barry says, "Well I thought you liked me and wanted to be together"
Julia says, "I live for your approval, barry."
barry says, "Oh well my bad see you around"
************************ July 21, 1992 ************************
barry says, "Are you still Holding out on me"
Julia says, "I mean, have I convinced you I’m a computer, yet?"

HOW? How could this man hold out hope that a bot would be his girlfriend? It only makes sense if he doesn’t expect WOMEN IN GENERAL to pass a Turing test. Because we are not human. We are sex-bots and if he just unlocks our secret code will switch from DENY mode to ALLOW.

Actually, the more I look at it, the more human-sounding Julia is and the less “barry” is.  You sense her frustration and her humor in her deflections, whereas his lines feel like a not-very-long text list.  Could HE pass a Turing test with these responses?

The sad thing is, this could be a transcript of real conversations I had with real guys. Stuff like:

Him: Show me YR TITS
Me: I'd rather not. I thought you said you'd like to have a conversation. We could talk about hobbies or something.
Him: OK. DO U CYBER?
Him: HEY. Hey I was talking to you. 
Him: It's been ONE MINUTE.  Where did you go? Show me YR TITS

Perhaps… what would be best would be just to resurrect Julia from 1992 and have her be my virtual wing woman to talk to the horny boys. After all, if these guys can’t pass a Turing test, why should their chat partners?

listening

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