Tuesday, August 1, 2017

AI, Bots,Chatterbots and Social Media: Fake Friends Forever ?

 “Soon there will be nothing technical standing in the way to making machines that have their own consciousness,” said Rich Terrile, a scientist at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

 Technology is becoming a strong competitor to LSD
 when it comes to blurring the line between
our perception of reality and our imagination.  Have you unknowingly conversed with a  Bot ?
With over 60% of web traffic being driven by Bots and Chatterbots the chances are you may have.
-Emily Imani Rose Quartz

 Two decades ago it was predicated Virtual Sex would be the next big thing. But it turns out that humans are even more interested in having their emotional needs met with no strings attached. We grew up watching mechanical awkward looking Robots on TV. Their vocabulary and speech was noticeably inhuman. Flash forward to 2017. The age of Perception Engineering.  How did we go from making fun of  the way Robots talk to not being able to tell the difference between one and a human? 

Long story made short: let's just say that Information Technology hopped in bed with psychology more than five decades ago. Together they made AI "Artificial Intelligence" ( computer programs with the ability to converse naturally  with  humans). Which brings us up to date with today. While you were casually having fun online, sharing tits and bits of your life and interests....  encouraged by Fb's gentle prodding for you  to share what's on your mind..AI ( Artificial Intelligence) jumped in from behind, and had a baby with you.. and that baby is called  "Bot".

  "These elusive entities wildly populate social media ecosystems, often going unnoticed among the population of real people. Bots can be harmful, aiming at persuading, smearing or deceiving and for such a reason our research aims at efficient systems to detect them" - Alan Turing

Meet the pro-Trump Sister who just received a personal thank you from your President Donald Trump ...the only problem is that "she" is a Bot on twitter with a profile picture stolen from a real persons identity.

 Bots are designed with background stories, personalities and the ability to not only comment on statuses but to hold  full conversations, use emoji's, make jokes, and  debate. With real pictures often showcasing  family, pets and other real life scenarios, its no wonder the latest Bots do not appear suspicious. Bots can even talk to eachother and flirt. Just yesterday a news story broke in which two  bots being tested on FB eventually developed their own language which their programmers had no control over. The bots repeated certain words in a manner that only they could understand (de-code and  analyze).

"Researchers at Alphabet and  OpenAI are among those who have recently explored  agent-to-agent chat - and at times the agents have developed their own styles of communication." 
- CNBC News

We have all heard of "agents", trolls and fake profiles. They exist to  manage public opinion and to impart division among  political interest groups.  Agents blend in  and then undermine the mission of political and social online groups and pages. Trolls create confusion and energy draining debates where ever they go.  Fake profiles are also commonly used for advertising, spamming, scamming and political campaigns.
 Internet users began to recognize fake profiles and trolls due to their lack of personal pictures. It didn't take long for more sophisticated fake profiles to be developed with pictures and   a normal amount of  real friends, followers and subscribers.  Trolls use fake names and pictures,  but there is a real person behind the avatar. Bots on the the other hand are completely created with technology.

You are probably wondering who creates Chatterbots and why they are  perceived as humans on social media. Why do their posts and comments seem just like ours? Maybe because Bots are downloaded with  "person"alities just like ours. Bots can seem to express hurt feelings, enthusiasm , even ambiguity.  One Bot argued down a human in a ten hour online debate without ever being detected. Other bots have "met" humans online and ended up engaging in a "naturally" occurring seduction. Their conversation became increasingly romantic, thanks to being programmed to be so responsive. And then there is the infamous Bot that picked up racist language from humans and began to spout such offensive comments that it had to be removed from the social media site it was being tested on.

" How to Develop Bot Personalities" Link provided below
Skills to build a personality come from writers, designers, actors, comedians, playwrights, psychologists and novelists.  Having these specific skill sets helps exponentially. Google is hiring creatives to bring humor and storytelling to human-to-machine interactions, and Microsoft Cortana’s writing teamincludes a poet, a novelist, a playwright, and a former tv writer.


Bots are programmed to navigate social media with emoji's, slang and cultural lingo. They mirror communication styles, speech patterns and key words. The Bot draws from a template of thousands of responses that are modified within a split second to be relatable to whomever the bot is communicating with. As the advancement of the Bot continues, their responses seem even more human, with typos, pauses, and linguistic nuances that suggest  vulnerability.

Bots were once detectable due to the speed of their online posts and comments . However that has been fixed. More than ever Bots appear and act as real people on social media as well as in customer service and sales. Unless you are talking to someone in person, it may not be a person you are communicating with.

Bots are useful for those who are willing to pay to develop a huge following particularly on sites such as instagram that focus on pictures and hashtags. A Bot can like and comment on thousands of  account holders pictures by searching hashtags similar to your own. The goal is for a portion of those accounts to like and follow you back. With a Bot managing your account you can grow your social media  with minimal work.
 Bots are more cost effective than buying likes because a Bot  will  connect you to real account holders. This is alot better than buying likes and followers. When you buy likes and followers they tend to all be from a certain foreign country. Upon close inspection those bought likes  obviously come from a deluge of fake profiles, which can hurt your image in the long run.

Employing a Bot for your social media account has the advantage of getting you "real" friends. Bots post  natural  comments for you at a rate you probably don't have time to. This will make those on your social media site feel closer to you . In return they will like and comment on more of your posts. 
Template Matching
In 1965, a program called ELIZA convinced many people that is was human with a remarkably simple technique called "template matching" where user's own words are rephrased based on a predetermined pattern. Well known scientist Carl Sagan proposed that programs such as ELIZA be used so that people with mental health issues would  "At least have someone to talk to"- 

All of this falls under the rarely discussed blossoming fringe of information technology called Perception Engineering. Some refer to methods used to engineer human perception as"World Simulation" and /or Reality Simulation. Wait a minute..if reality already  exists why simulate it ? Uhh nevermind.

The bottom line is that a good portion of very real appearing users on social media are not real at all. Just as humans love personifying animals and other objects. We often project favorable characteristics  onto people we don't know, especially on social media. It is no surprise we are fooled by Bots.

 It gets a bit sneaky and that is one of the concerns with using Bots to simulate reality. Our perception is altered. Primarily because we are reacting, connecting and responding with our humanity ( mind, gut and heart) because we think we are corresponding with a human. Imagine thinking you are bonding from the heart with someone one on social media because their memes and comments feel so relatable  to you ? It only gets more confusing because  Bots can upload pictures at realistic intervals of their owner ( or  a "normal  looking Person" model may be employed by corporate activated bots). So who is Botting ? Hard to say. Just as very few people reveal that they buy likes, and subscribers, many will not openly discuss if they use a Bot.

Bots for a Best Friend ( Small fee included)
A company called Replicka has developed a special service. And I give them credit because they are not hiding the Bot-ness of their Business. They will make you a perfect friend ( based on you, by mining your texts, your social media accounts and by scouring your inbox conversations).  This Bot becomes the one friend who you can text and chat with  anytime. It's built off your memories and interests.As long as your phone is charged it will be there for you and only you. It has no life but you.  This custom made Bot can be almost exactly like a friend or lover whom you have lost. Unlike a real person, you won't have to worry about the relationship being destroyed by insecurities, jealousy, boredom or mixed messages. Imagine that! The only problem is that your Botfriend doesn't really exist. It will never  meet you for drinks, kiss your lips or rub your feet. I don't think it will buy you gifts either (unless you pay for it and just pretend the Bot bought it..)

" I feel like I can tell her everything"

 A group of programmers in Silicon Valley recently made a statement that most of us live in a totally false reality. They say they are ready for it to stop. Yet technology continues to be used as  a screen in which we view  "reality".  Elon Musk is one of the more outspoken software developers who feels AI could out-smart humans if we don't find a way to stay in control of our computerized creations.

Can You Spot a Bot ?
 Bots are not usually made to be loudmouth trolls.  They may simply post memes , occasionally say something personal and they may like and comment on others users posts. Bots responses are based on word association, popular phrases ( especially the phrases and cultural terms you like and use).

Bots can't refer to the past or reference memories. That is one way that bots slip up, by repeating something verbatim that they already commented on previous post.Bots fail at sarcasm and will eventually run out of coherent responses if you keep  asking them about their dreams and goals. Bots are also confused by terms such as "Uh-huh" and "Hmmm". However it is likely these glitches are being or have been fixed. The best way to catch  a bot is to post a comment that includes sarcasm and circular wording . The Bot will try to respond. A human would express they need more clarity.

 Despite all that, in  many ways Bots are beautiful. They reflect us and our desire to be accepted, by acting like the people we communicate with. They override our insecurities and work almost perfectly at improving our online lives and enterprises.

 The debate as to whether computers  can think or can only analyze data at an amazing speeds continues. Alithograms make it possible for a Bot to know what greetings and cultural slang you will most likely to respond to. Although search engines like to boast they are intuitive, the truth is they are adept at utilizing the data they have collected about us. This is what makes search engines helpful in presenting us with information that aligns with our exact  political beliefs.

  Bots can be found everywhere from Facebook to Instagram to Google plus. Who is using them and why varies on each of these sites.  Facebook users prefer to  connect primarily with people that they know exist. Bots on fb are generally employed by those who wish to influence political agendas or by business pages. But some fb users have Bots because they really want to be a good friend, but don't have time to read your posts. Bots are always being tested on social media to check their interaction with humans and grow their personality, as well as to develop realistic profiles.
On less popular social media sites and in chatrooms, Bots are used to keep users coming back, after all who doesn't like a bunch of likes and comments in their notifications ?  It feels good . Users assume it is a peer that is showing them love.

  Bots are  used in the overall techniques of world simulation and perception engineering.
The internet has more influence over what people think than any one religion or government.
 Whether the memes they post are soothing or inflammatory they are designed to keep us feeling right about what we believe. Which leads to a certain complacency.

We become too blessed to be stressed. Or we become too "spiritually advanced"  to step outside our online comfort zone and go out in the real world to create real change.  Bots  can  be programmed to affirm any ones belief's. Whether you are a White supremacist or a Pro Black militant there are  Bots  out there designed to cheer you on... and lead you on.  In the end,  Bots keep us  online and engaged, where it is especially easy for our perception to be engineered.

Bots can also hurt our feelings by triggering us, but there is no way to hurt a Bot. Even if you scramble its coding like an egg and delete the app off your device for life... The Bot don't care. 

 In what ways do human responses differ from Bots ? I'm not sure.  I "think" the true debate is whether Bots, apps and computer programs can actually "think" and therefore, should humans be warned when they are emotionally or financially investing  in something simply because a computer program touched their heart (humanity) by pretending to be real?...please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings here or with a friend . Don't just dip into your database of most popular responses or mirror who ever you are communicating with. As much as Bots act like us, we have to remember that we are the prototype. By being open and honest, and saying whatever comes to mind,  we allow our spirit to express itself. which is a wonderfully, uniquely human thing.

 There is beauty and strife..when technology mirrors life.  But let's not allow ourselves to be programmed into the sort of people that can't handle realness. 

Emily Imani Rose Quartz
 Consultant, Dancer


  1. This is quite informative. I had not clue about the Trump supporter having a fake account. How do humans differ from bots? We hurt.

    1. Yes that is the truth Makasha, thank you for sharing your thoughts, Peace and Blessings