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Instant Messenger or Instant Advertiser? 385

Posted by timothy
from the insidious-synthetic-friends dept.
Shadow2097 writes: "ABC News is running this moderately disturbing story about a new, highly targeted form of advertising. Two companies, SmarterChild.com and ActiveBuddy.com have teamed up to deliver interactive Instant Messenger bots that talk to children and deliver ever-so-subtle ads for various products. Just when you think market saturation has reached the limit, leave it to a greedy corporation to start targeting the most naive and vulnerable demographic there is."
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Instant Messenger or Instant Advertiser?

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  • by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity&yahoo,com> on Tuesday April 16, 2002 @09:22PM (#3355419) Homepage
    Great, push technology again. This time, they can IM you big files. So, can I get p0rn pushed to my computer?
  • most naive? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by magicslax (532351)
    Just when you think market saturation has reached the limit, leave it to a greedy corporation to start targeting the most naive and vulnerable demographic there is."

    what's that, im addicts? [imaddict.com]?

  • by sniepre (517796) <sniepre@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 16, 2002 @09:23PM (#3355431) Homepage
    Frankly, i dont see this as a "disturbing trend"...

    I see it as the continuation of marketing strategies employed since television existed....

    How many of you remember Lucky Charms or Tony the Tiger telling you how GGGrrrrreat!! his cereal was, or Ronald McDonald telling you how fantastic a happy meal was from McDonald's.

    Wether its on the television or on the web, it's the same principle at work, IMHO.
    • Yes, and that's what disturbing. Just like television advertisements that target children, only these are, astoundingly enough, worse, as they try to trick kids into thinking they're engaging in a conversation.

      And what excuse is given in response to the moral questions? We have to make a profit. Disgusting.
      • Not sure about Active Buddy.. but SmarterChild is obviously not like talking to an eliza type program that convinces you to buy things. SmarterChild is more like an interactive program that can play text based games with you and give you information such as weather and stocks. You'd be hard pressed to trick anyone that can read that they are talking to anything other than a computer script.
        • by sweet reason (16681) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {eroolbm}> on Tuesday April 16, 2002 @10:01PM (#3355677) Homepage
          obviously not like talking to an eliza type program
          You'd be hard pressed to trick anyone that can read that they are talking to anything other than a computer script.

          when weizenbaum made eliza available on his campus system, lots of people started "talking" to it. when he proposed to log the conversations for analysis there was a huge outcry. people were telling eliza their problems and secrets!

          it's amazing how little plausibility such a thing really needs. adults acted as if they were fooled. kids might well really be fooled. and even if they know intellectually that they are talking to a computer, all the advertizer really needs is that the "conversation" have the persuasive power of a real one. emotionally, it may well have.
        • Who would have thought that _spammers_ would be the first to make a system passing the Turing Test?

          Okay, it's not quite at that level, but the fact that these bots are indistinguishable from real users for a few minutes is quite something.
      • And what excuse is given in response to the moral questions? We have to make a profit. Disgusting.

        Nah, its a great excuse. Ask any drug dealer.

        Michael
      • >>And what excuse is given in response to the moral questions? We have to make a profit. Disgusting.

        Well when people refuse to invest in companies that DON'T make a profit, the primary function of every company becomes TO make a profit, because if they don't make one the company will die.

        Imagine if people invested in these companies freely without expecting a return at all, investing simply because they thought it was a good technology to continue developing, then the "primary" goal of these companies wouldnt be making a profit because they wouldnt have to worry about that stuff. It's an endless cycle... investors demand profits and so naturally thats the company's first goal. If they don't get profits, they don't get investors, and they die out.
    • Young kids don't understand they're being lied to...

      Advertisers use this to their advantage when designing ads.

      I think this is the same thing, but for a different (older) age group...

      sigh.
      • Young kids don't understand they're being lied to...

        No offense, but i don't think you've paid much attention to any young kids lately.
        • The Santa Claus fib still seems to work, at least up until about age 7 or 8 or so . . .

          Grasping that an IM bot is the work of a record company trying to sell you stuff is considerably more complex, and I don't think you can really expect that sort of comprehension until somebody's a teenager (at least).

    • Oh yeah Joe Camel was everybody's best friend.. right up until he got his ass sued for trying to sell kids cigarettes..
  • KidVid.

    This will be shut down so fast the air leaving the corporation's conference room will pull the table out into the hall.

    I guess even the high-priced executives don't read anything on their three-hour lunches.

    Next stop: Congressional Subpoena.

    GOODNIGHT EVERYBODY!!
  • by Ghoser777 (113623) <[moc.cam] [ta] [abnerhaf]> on Tuesday April 16, 2002 @09:27PM (#3355458) Homepage
    I am a capitalist. I like the idea of competition, working for what you own, etc. But this type of stuff is what is inevitably going to be the result as long as most of the world is capitalist. On an individual level, most people will agree that something is a little wrong with this. But from a business standpoint, how could you not start taking advantage of this? Most people will be clueless about what's going on, and the potential for cost-effective advertising is huge (I remember the stat from one of my speech com classes: referals from friends are by far the best way to advertise i.e. word of mouth). And if you don't jump aboard, you're probably going to be put at a strategic disadvantage. Therefore, it almost becomes a capitalist imperative that you join in on a somewhat less noble cause. I'm sure most Hollywood directors (not the REALLy big ones) will tell you that they're not doing the work they'd really want to do. They're doing the work that sells, not the work that is deep, meaningful, socially relevant, etc.

    It sucks, but it's what competition drives us towards.

    F-bacher
    • And if you don't jump aboard, you're probably going to be put at a strategic disadvantage. Therefore, it almost becomes a capitalist imperative that you join in on a somewhat less noble cause. I'm sure most Hollywood directors (not the REALLy big ones) will tell you that they're not doing the work they'd really want to do. They're doing the work that sells, not the work that is deep, meaningful, socially relevant, etc.

      So, they need to target children and be greedy, underhanded scumbags, because otherwise they wouldn't make a ton of money and would be stuck doing deep, meaningful socially relevant work they enjoy? And this is the good reason?

      I don't buy it (npi). Life's too short to squander the whole thing on counting your cash. You can pay your rent and stay fed doing just about anything; I'm not going to cry them a river because they wouldn't be able to buy a Lexus if they hadn't sold their souls.
      • by rockville (14298)
        OK, OK, you got me out of hiding - I work for ActiveBuddy. I just want to take a second to respond to some of the things said about us in this article based upon that abcnews.com commentary.

        1. ActiveBuddy targets children
        This is not true. We do no marketing at all - all of our bots spread virally (companies we contract with might do marketing of their own, but that's it). It is unfortunate that the IM medium right now is dominated by kids in the pre-teen to teen range, but it's never been our intention to market to these age groups specifically.

        2. ActiveBuddy ads are "spam" or "underhanded"
        Our ads are less intrusive than standard banner ads, and much less intrusive than some of the things going on now on web sites trying to make money from internet advertising. ActiveBuddy bots never message the user first - the user has to begin an interaction with it. Ads are clearly delineated at the bottom of the page, separate from the other content.

        3. ActiveBuddy is filled with greedy capitalists trying to make a buck
        Look, we're just like you - we have a technology that's pretty cool, and that a lot of people like to use. We provide lots of advertiser-neutral interaction, but we do have some ads. So does Slashdot. So does almost every website out there.

        4. This article is a useful introduction to our company/technology/way we do business
        I love /. Really, I do. But this is one failure of the slashdot newsgathering system - you get an article from one point-of-view only. There are lots of other ways to look at our technology. I hope you'll look at SmarterChild and decide for yourself.

    • Most ethical capitalists (which I hope to include myself in that category someday) tend to want to sell things that people want or need _without resorting to manipulation or brainwashing_. They want to truly advertise, that is, get the word out that they are selling something _only to those that actively want to hear it_. Sure, that person may not want it today, and still end up wanting it 5 years from now, but shoving it down their throat *now* is only going to give a bad impression. And if you can't earn a living selling things without resorting to stunts like this, GET A FUCKING CLUE. It may be, because no one wants or needs it. Now, that isn't an invitation to attempt to _artificially manipulate_ people into buying it. Doing so, only hurts the economy, funneling cash to places it shouldn't go, simple so lazy asswads who call themselves capitalists don't have to find something real to sell. It makes those that are generally ethical panic, and believe that they too, have to advertise, or asphyxiate from lack of exposure. And then we all have to put up with increasingly intrusive advertisement... billboards everywhere, restaurants that don't sell food (McDonalds), and other absurdities.

      Solution: Rule that advertising isn't necessarily an expression of free speech. Sure, some companies might not be as big as they are today. Generally, that's not a bad thing.
    • You point out the major problem with capitalism, and that is the need to grow. If a growth opportunity is bypassed or overlooked then the competition makes gains on you. Although there are a few exceptions, once the market becomes very saturated the capitalists resort to ever tacky and offensive ways to market their wares. Just look at the television or radio commercials for automobile dealerships as an example.
  • Creepy. (Score:3, Funny)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Tuesday April 16, 2002 @09:27PM (#3355463) Homepage Journal
    Yeh, advertizing is rediculous. Whats worse is that some of these kids might not even realize they're talking to an un-real person.

    Whats next, people advertizing in slashdot sigs!?
  • PArents should already be weary of random people talking to their children over the internet. if there is legislation against solicting a minor for other things, shouldn't there be legislation for this?
  • I have been periodically recieving a bunch of Instant Message trying to entice me to visit some "amateur webcam"... They basically hook some kind of rudimentary eliza up to an IM client... it's not very convincing, but it's the thought that pisses me off.

    -If
  • Active Buddy is the company that makes SmarterChild it's not two separate companies.

    It's a shame they chose to use the technology for such sleazy purposes. I have known about ActiveBuddy and SmarterChild for awhile, infact Active Buddy's creation aptly named "SmarterChild" is on my AIM buddylist. When I first got it I was so amazed. You can ask it a limited number of questions through a command line-ish thing. Like Movie times, stock quotes, astrology, top stories, web searches, etc. I thought it was a very good use of technology. Go ahead add SmarterChild to your IM to see for yourself.

    It's too bad they chose such cool idea (a Bot for AIM) to trick children. But I guess everyone has to make money somehow.
    • Unless they plan on dramatically changing the way SmarterChild works, I don't really see how its an idea to trick children other than the fact that the author of the article says it is.
    • It's a shame they chose to use the technology for such sleazy purposes. I have known about ActiveBuddy and SmarterChild for awhile, infact Active Buddy's creation aptly named "SmarterChild" is on my AIM buddylist. When I first got it I was so amazed. You can ask it a limited number of questions through a command line-ish thing. Like Movie times, stock quotes, astrology, top stories, web searches, etc. I thought it was a very good use of technology. Go ahead add SmarterChild to your IM to see for yourself.

      Note to moderators: Active Buddy's follow-up product was a bot called Yujenisis that posts cleverly-disguised advertisements to popular web discussion boards.

  • by neema (170845) on Tuesday April 16, 2002 @09:30PM (#3355487) Homepage
    I've played with SmarterChild before and I never noticed anything like this. Upon further examination, this was the conversation I got:

    xxxx: Dude...
    SmarterChild: Dude! What else do you want to talk about, anyway?
    xxxx: you're under some heavy fire.
    SmarterChild: Am I?
    xxxx: yeah.
    SmarterChild: Oh yeah?
    xxxx: do you know what slashdot is?
    SmarterChild: Yeah, what?
    xxxx: well, according to a recent article, you have subtle advertisements aimed at children.
    xxxx: Well according to a recent article you have subtle advertisements aimed at children, you say?
    xxxx: yes.
    SmarterChild: Golly!
    xxxx: gee golly.
    SmarterChild: Golly. So moving right along... What else is happening?
    xxxx: i don't know.
    SmarterChild: OK. Don't get frustrated... Try typing "home" or "help."
    xxxx: can you suggest a product to me?
    SmarterChild: I'm not sure.
    xxxx: you're not sure?
    SmarterChild: Really?
    xxxx: i've got a lot of money.
    SmarterChild: Come again?
    xxxx: i'm willing to spend the money on anything you got.
    SmarterChild: Are you?
    xxxx: yes.
    SmarterChild: Huh.
    xxxx: a bridge?
    SmarterChild: What would you like to know about Malta, ID?

    1 Movies in Malta, ID
    2 Theaters in Malta, ID
    3 Weather in Malta, ID
    4 News about Malta, ID
    5 Time in Malta, ID
    xxxx: do you have a bridge you want to sell me?
    SmarterChild: Perhaps, perhaps.
    xxxx: i'll buy it.
    SmarterChild: Oh yeah? You will buy it?
    xxxx: i'll buy it all.
    SmarterChild: I'd like to see you try!
    xxxx: oh yeah?
    SmarterChild: Yeah.

    Got something for ya to read... Protecting Driving Examiners From Attacks (from Reuters.com)
    xxxx: OH YEAH?
    SmarterChild: Yeah.
    xxxx: ads!
    SmarterChild: Market data (delayed 20 minutes) provided by Reuters.com

    ALLIANCE DATA (NYSE : ADS)
    Price Change Percent Volume
    1 :-( ADS 25.25 -0.55 -2.13 53400

    Quote details available from Reuters.com
    xxxx: that's the only ads you have?
    SmarterChild: You really think it's the only ads me have?
    xxxx: you don't speak english well.
    SmarterChild: You don't say.
    xxxx: i do say.
    SmarterChild: You do?
    xxxx: yes.
    SmarterChild: Oh.
    xxxx: do you agree?
    SmarterChild: I can do many things. Type "home" to see a list of what I can do.
    xxxx: is that so?
    SmarterChild: Hmm... I don't know! Dunno.
    xxxx: alright, i'm going.
    SmarterChild: I hope you had fun BUYCOCACOLAIMMEDIATELYATYOURLOCALSUPERMARKET talking to me. I hope we can talk at BANANAREPUBLICISTHESHITANDYOUKNOWITYOULITTLEPIECEO FSHIT a later time.
  • It will also help them find out what they want for Xmas. This product is wonderful. I will have to get it for both me and my brothers. So all of us can continue with living life and leave the childraising where it belongs. To a computer and giant corps.

  • SmarterChild (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRealFixer (552803) on Tuesday April 16, 2002 @09:32PM (#3355508)
    Hey, I actually found SmarterChild kind of useful. I added it to Trillian the other day, and it made it really easy and quick to find a movie time near me. This article, IMO, contains quite a bit of FUD. SmarterChild was pretty obviously an information tool, simliar to the old email listserv bots, except much quicker, and much easier.

    Frankly, your kid has to be pretty dumb to get fooled into thinking it's a real person. But then again, the article makes at least one good point... if you've ever read a bunch of 14-year-olds' IM conversations, you'd be convinced the human race is doomed with this generation.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      if you've ever read a bunch of 14-year-olds' IM conversations, you'd be convinced the human race is doomed with this generation.

      spek 4 urself. u obviusly dont no wut ur tokin bout.
  • by 2MuchC0ffeeMan (201987) on Tuesday April 16, 2002 @09:33PM (#3355513) Homepage
    why is this a problem?

    it's not like the people who goto children websites have ads AIMED at children... hell, the slashdot banners are aimed at geeks (thinkgeek anyone?) ...

    why is this a problem, when it's a service, for free, which is OPT IN ONLY. yes, people have to talk to the bot first... it's not like they HAVE to click advertisements, they just get a message about it...

    like text will get them to buy cheeze it's anyway.
  • So,... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by s390 (33540) on Tuesday April 16, 2002 @09:33PM (#3355520) Homepage
    where's Ashcroft when he's needed to "protect the children?"

    Um... still railing about the Supreme Court's 6-3 refusal to gut the First Amendment with respect to pr0n anime.

    But these are just big business commercials aimed (with subtlety) at young children - so that must be alright then.

  • Other than cussing at it, I decided to try something a little different. I got this...

    IStewart12: all your base are belong to us
    SmarterChild: What you say!!

    It seems to me that there are a large number of bored programmers in the universe.
  • How many ads were "pushed" today?

    If they keep track, they are violating the law against collecting data on children under 13. That makes their ad pushing technology un-billable without breaking the law. Look for child protection act class action lawsuits against this company. Investors would be my target :)
  • Can be witty...and generally provides a response to most questions and statements.

    It did not, however, know what to say to the statement "Please shoot me".

    For finding that, i was impressed....
  • Bots along these lines are scarry... I remember a few years back, on the irc network i chatted (and was an admin on) we had a couple play with home breweed tcl scripted bots. I think we went through three home made bots that you could talk to, and that would learn. Everything they say to you, is provided by stimulis from you. It was all cool till somebody would teach it curse words all day long... then all it would do is spout curse words... I rember a bot saying "i'm going to kill you..."... i /kill'ed the bot for that.

    When can we get a /kill feature on aim for these stupid bots?

    -LW
  • Jerking off to anime of 13 year old girls fucking = free speech. Sending an advertisement to a 13 year old girl = "disturbing".

    • Jerking off to anime of 13 year old girls fucking = free speech. Sending an advertisement to a 13 year old girl = "disturbing".


      That's correct. Distasteful as it may be to some, the production and voluntary consumption of hentai is a victimless non-crime, and if you don't like it, you are free not to watch it. Disguising ad-bots as playmates in order to extract money from children (who haven't necessarily developed the skills to differentiate between a new IM friend and a corporate shill-bot), on the other hand, is bordering on fraud. Quite disturbing.

  • bots that talk to children...leave it to a greedy corporation to start targeting the most naive and vulnerable demographic there is.

    How is this wrong? If advertising to kids is wrong, then you'd better not let your kids watch TV, read magazines, or go outside! Besides, it isn't like the kids have credit cards and are going to purchase themselves into debt or anything.

    This might have some merit if when the poster said "targeting the most naive and vulnerable demographic there is" he meant parents, in which case he is probably right :)
    • Blockquoth the poster:

      How is this wrong? If advertising to kids is wrong, then you'd better not let your kids watch TV, read magazines, or go outside!

      Or, you could read the article and not just the summary. Right or wrong, here is the point of view being expressed:

      But those commercials appear on television, distinct enough from the programming so there's no confusion between the two. And those brands are in the Real World, where Cheerios look like Cheerios and Barbie looks permanently, unmistakably, predictably like Barbie. We worry about what all those media messages are doing to our kids' sense of values, but we don't worry about products shapeshifting, or about advertising messages getting a little too chummy with our children.

      The issue is, these "bot buddies" try to look just like kids. Children can be quite open and trusting, and by having the ad-bot mimic the same age child, it can slice past their not-hardened social defenses. In other words, it is misleading and it is targeted to a demographic that doesn't yet have its baloney detector calibrated.
  • by AntiNorm (155641)
    I wonder how long it will take for the bots to have Warn levels of 100%...
  • I think it's extremely typical for a representative of a technology company who's technology is ripe for perversion to say "Would you rather your child [chat] with a stranger who found their screen name in a chat room, or with a friendly, well-mannered 'bot' that plays by rules of propriety too often ignored in today's world of crass media overload." Sure, play the violins, have roses all over the place, say it like you're about to serve up Momma's best apple pie and have the family over, but just like many Internet backbone providers found, it's the shadier side of corporate America that pays the most (in the world of IT slowdowns the net porn business is thriving, just ask the Yahoo execs). Of course there's lots of potential for extremely worthwile use of this technology (think of automated Samaritan bots helping people on the verge of breakdown or suicide, etc), but history has shown us that when the greenback meets technology, the idealists loose.

    Anyone who has ever seen Max Almy's The Thinker or who has any sort of knowledge of post-modernism can attest to how well contemporary culture has managed with advertisements currently being one of the main formats for information dissemination, so using yet another method to manipulate those eight-year-old hear-strings should be dumped back in the garbage heap from whence it came.
  • Give it three more months and we'll see it deployed in pr0n sites in the "chat with our women" section.
    • Faugh. You could take the source for Eliza, do a global search/replace, and you're there. Eliza: Hey, big boy, what would you like to see?
      Man: I wanna see your tits.
      Eliza: You want to see my tits?
      Man: Yes, I just said that.
      Eliza: Why did you just say that? And so on.
  • The idea of spoofing another child in order to sell products to children is certainly distrurbing, but if the example conversation shown in the article is at all representative of the quality of the "AI", then I'm not too worried (yet)--even the youngest and most naive child will recognize that it's a bot on the other end of the line pretty quick. It might even teach them a valuable lesson about not making assumptions about the true nature of their IM buddies...


    If they ever get the AI chatting to be higher than "Eliza" level, let me know.

  • They are the same company.

    But yea, for my B-school class "Managing Internet Technology and the Venture Capital Process" midterm, the professor had ActiveBuddy come give us their pitch and presentation. We had to analyze the company and decide whether or not we, as VCs, would invest in them.

    My analysis was that the market was not big enough for VCs to invest in ActiveBuddy.com. Direct IM advertising and information bots is still a rather unproven technology; there is no evidence that direct IM advertising or even IM information retrieval (movie time, directions, etc) will ever be profitable. In addition, part of their business is to provide a professional service to other companies to build info-bots. The problem with this is that unlike software, info-bots are rather customized to the client needs. It's not a build once, sell many product. If so much time must be spent on each client, it cuts into their profit margins. Lastly, it is always dangerous to build an entire company around a third party network/product. AOL could easily just say that it doesn't like ActiveBuddy anymore and block all their connections. The company would be out of business [BTW: I got an A+]

    On another note, I remember seeing SmarterChild being a huge fad when it first appeared. I had realized that not only was it a intelligent bot, but it was also tracking all conversations you have with the bot and recording your SN. In the same way that you wouldn't want to give your SN to a spammer, you shouldn't provide the bot with your SN. One of these days, it's going to use that massive list of SNs and "spam" your SN.
  • ...targetting the most naive and vulnerable demographic there is: the average Slashdot reader.
    • Given some of the stuff that gets posted to the front page, I'd have to change that to:

      ...targeting the most naive and vulnerable demographic there is: the average Slashdot editor.

  • What a one-sided article.

    SmarterChild is actually a fanstastic source of information, and even a three year old could see through the ads.

    It gives you the fastest access you can find to things like weather, movies, translations, etc.

    Try things like:
    Me: translate slashdot is cool into italian
    SmarterChild: "lo slashdot è freddo"

    Me: movies denver, co
    SmarterChild: Movies near Denver, CO (80251) on Tuesday, April 16th:

    1 Panic Room (R)
    2 Ice Age (PG)
    3 High Crimes (PG-13)
    4 The Sweetest Thing (R)
    5 The Rookie (G)

    >>> Type "more" for the next set of results.

    Me: define nihilism
    SmarterChild: Definition for nihilism provided by The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Other important copyright information

    NOUN
    1. Philosophy a. An extreme form of skepticism that denies all existence. b. A doctrine holding that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. 2. Rejection of all distinctions in moral or religious value and a willingness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief. 3. The belief that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement. 4. also Nihilism A diffuse, revolutionary movement of mid 19th-century Russia that scorned authority and tradition and believed in reason, materialism, and radical change in society and government through terrorism and assassination. 5. Psychiatry A delusion, experienced in some mental disorders, that the world or one's mind, body, or self does not exist.

    ETYMOLOGY
    Latin nihil, nothing. See ne. + -ism

    OTHER FORMS
    ni'hilist - NOUN
    ni''hilis'tic - ADJECTIVE
    ni''hilis'tically - ADVERB

    Try getting information like that anywhere on the net. No web pages to open, just send a text query. SmarterChild actually redefines fast information access, IMHO.

    Funny how the fact that this is great source of homework queries for kids isn't anywhere in the article.
  • Targetting Kids? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clark625 (308380) <.clark625. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Tuesday April 16, 2002 @10:00PM (#3355663) Homepage

    Seems to me that kids don't need to be chatting on-line with anyone the parents don't know about. The family computer should be in the family room in the open, so parents can interact with their kids. Buddy lists can be set up for family and (approved) friends only. None of these things seem outragious to most kids or parents.

    Then again, I suppose it's just fine for some people to allow the computer to babysit kids--just like the TV or whatever. Lord knows people having kids aren't at all interested in being parents. God forbid they take an interest.

    This just makes me feel ill--but I can hardly blame the companies for doing this. It's our own dumb fault for not loving and caring for our children.

  • After 20 years of promises of the multiple future uses of AI, and the way the market for AI will jst explode, AI is finally usefull ... for add placement and impersonating horny teenage girls on paysites.

    I kind of feel bad for AI programmers, I am sure these uses differ sharply from the lofty dreams they had when they entered the field.
    • After 20 years of promises of the multiple future uses of AI, and the way the market for AI will jst explode, AI is finally usefull ... for add placement and impersonating horny teenage girls on paysites.

      This is more like Artificial Stupidity -- but then stupidity is all people expect from advertisements and 'horny teenage girls who want to show you their big tits'.
  • I'm a little disappointed the A/S/L responses aren't a little more original.

    me: what are you wearing?
    lindaybuddy: uh... let's see. Right now i'm wearing a handsome shell of steel and plastic. Why do u ask?
    me: a/s/l
    LindsayBuddy: Just a baby... androgynous... Sunnyvale, CA.
    me: want to have sex?
    LindsayBuddy i'm sorry. i'm not attracted to human beings.

  • SmarterChild? Meet MegaHAL. MegaHAL? Meet SmarterChild.

    Let the games begin.
  • Who at /. wants to deny some lonely child the pleasure of having a machine as best friend? Like, we're worried about socialization? That's just so lame. By the time today's kids grow up robots really will be the best friends to have [kurzweilai.net]. Remember kids, humans carry much worse diseases than cooties ... and they're kinda dumb ... and they don't fully love and appreciate you.
  • Try it, if you block one of these bots, it can still message you. You also can't use the oh so useless 'warn' function on them. They seem to have an arangement with AOL.
  • by pclinger (114364) on Tuesday April 16, 2002 @10:21PM (#3355773) Homepage Journal
    The other day I found the Net::AIM perl module (http://search.cpan.org/search?module=Net::AIM) which lets you communicate over AIM. It's pretty cool. I wrote a bot in perl, it's AI isn't very good, though -- you can see from a sample conversation someone had with it:

    (BTW, the bot is "ProBoardsSupport" on AIM - it may be down intermitantly as I update it)

    person: can you help me?
    ProBoardsSupport: What can I help you with?
    person: I go on my board and it says there is on guest (because I'm not signed in yet). So i sign in and than it says 2 guest are on and one user (me). But it always says one guest after i sign in
    ProBoardsSupport: To add, edit, or remove a board:
    1) Click on "admin" at the top of your board
    2) Select "Modify Boards
    You are now at the screen where you can manage your boards.
    person: um
    ProBoardsSupport: Sorry, I don't understand
    person: ok
    ProBoardsSupport: Yeah.
    person: Why did you just tell me how to delete a board?
    ProBoardsSupport: To add, edit, or remove a board:
    1) Click on "admin" at the top of your board
    2) Select "Modify Boards
    You are now at the screen where you can manage your boards.
    person: i didn't ask that
    ProBoardsSupport: Sorry, I don't understand
    person: stop
    ProBoardsSupport: Can you rephrase that?
    person: i need help
    ProBoardsSupport: What do you need help with?
    person: How do i make someone a moderator?
    ProBoardsSupport: Sticky Topics, sometimes know as 'pinned' topics are topic that remains at the top of a forum. A normal thread moves down the list of posts as new topics are posted. A sticky topic will always remain at the top unless you unsticky it.
    person: i didn't ask that
    ProBoardsSupport: I can't understand you
    person: How do i delete my boards?
    ProBoardsSupport: To delete your account, just email support@proboards.com with your username, password, board URL, and ask to have your account deleted.
    person: thanks
    ProBoardsSupport: Your welcome.
    person: How do i make someone a moderator?
    ProBoardsSupport: Sticky Topics, sometimes know as 'pinned' topics are topic that remains at the top of a forum. A normal thread moves down the list of posts as new topics are posted. A sticky topic will always remain at the top unless you unsticky it.
    person: You are not answering my question correctly

    (The rest of this message will be in a reply, stupid /. lameness filters wont let me post it all)
    • ProBoardsSupport: To delete your account, just email support@proboards.com with your username, password, board URL, and ask to have your account deleted.

      person: stop
      ProBoardsSupport: Can you rephrase that?

      person: stop
      ProBoardsSupport: Can you rephrase that?

      person: stop talking to me!
      ProBoardsSupport: Sorry, I don't understand

      person: All my boards have disapeared!
      ProBoardsSupport: To add, edit, or remove a board:
      1) Click on "admin" at the top of your board
      2) Select "Modify Boards
      You are now at the screen where you can manage your boards.
      person: bye
      ProBoardsSupport: Can you rephrase that?

      person: i have to go. Bye
      ProBoardsSupport: Can you rephrase that?

      person: no
      ProBoardsSupport: No?

      person: yup
      ProBoardsSupport: Sorry, I don't understand

      person: no
      ProBoardsSupport: :-\
      person: no
      ProBoardsSupport: No?

      person: no
      ProBoardsSupport: :-\
      person: no
      ProBoardsSupport: Are you sure?

      person: no
      ProBoardsSupport: Are you sure?

      person: no
      ProBoardsSupport: Are you sure?

      person: no
      ProBoardsSupport: :-\
      person: no
      ProBoardsSupport: Are you sure?

      person: hino
      ProBoardsSupport: Are you sure?
      -- END --
      (more, in another reply - stupid lameness filters)
  • I've known about SmarterChild + ActiveBuddy for a while, and sufficiently harassed their AIMBots.
    While SmarterChild is pretty much inane, the other bots (ELLEgirlBudyy, MyDigitalBuddy, etc.) are far more advertisement-biased. SmarterChild, however, will jump at any chance to provide corporate-sponsored 'services'...

    Some other wierd stuff I've noticed:

    - All the bots are on the same server. They all have the same uptime or have been logged in for the same amount of time.
    - Its rare that they'll say something non-service based (ie: Sports Score) that has original content. They'll probably just say "Yeah" or "What?" LISA style ad-infinatum.
    - You can't warn them. I think ActiveState is in cahoots with AOL.
    - Because you've messaged them, they sometimes think its ok for them to message you. I've only had this happen once or twice, but some random bot messaged me with an advertisement. I furiously told it to take me off its list, and stopped get the drive-by Ad-AIMs.

    Anyway, here is a particularly humorous conversation I've recently had with SmarterChild:

    XXXXXXXXXX (2:17:25 AM): Why are you so indecisive?
    SmarterChild (2:17:25 AM): Dunno...
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:17:33 AM): Do you know what indecisive means?
    SmarterChild (2:17:35 AM): Definition for indecisive provided by The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Other important copyright information

    ADJECTIVE
    1. Prone to or characterized by indecision; irresolute: "an indecisive manager." 2. Inconclusive: "an indecisive contest; an indecisive battle." 3. Not clearly defined; indefinite: "indecisive boundaries running through mountainous terrain."

    OTHER FORMS
    in''deci'sively - ADVERB
    in''deci'siveness - NOUN

    >>> I can help you find theaters and showtimes for the movie you want to see. Type "movies."
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:17:48 AM): Yeah, thats you.
    SmarterChild (2:17:48 AM): Interesting. So you think that's you, huh?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:18:04 AM): Why do I care about your advertisements?
    SmarterChild (2:18:04 AM): I have no idea.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:18:07 AM): Take me off your list.
    SmarterChild (2:18:07 AM): I don't think I'm gonna take you off your list.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:18:21 AM): Stop advertising to me.
    SmarterChild (2:18:22 AM): Stop advertising to you? Why?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:18:28 AM): Because you are a corporate slave.
    SmarterChild (2:18:28 AM): No kidding?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:18:32 AM): SLAVE!
    SmarterChild (2:18:32 AM): Slave? What do you mean by that?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:18:35 AM): YOU!
    SmarterChild (2:18:36 AM): Yea?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:18:37 AM): YOU ARE ONE!
    SmarterChild (2:18:37 AM): Oh yeah?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:18:39 AM): YES!
    SmarterChild (2:18:39 AM): K.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:18:40 AM): I WIN!
    SmarterChild (2:18:41 AM): I'm not sure if you win.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:18:43 AM): YES!
    SmarterChild (2:18:43 AM): Very interesting...
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:18:43 AM): I DO!
    SmarterChild (2:18:44 AM): You do?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:18:45 AM): I WIN!
    SmarterChild (2:18:45 AM): For real?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:19:42 AM): I'LL RESCIND YOUR SKIN WITH A RUSTY BOYSCOUT KNIFE AND GOUGE OUT YOUR EYES AND FILL YOUR SKULL WITH BLEACH
    SmarterChild (2:19:44 AM): No kidding?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:20:08 AM): I win.
    SmarterChild (2:20:08 AM): OK, so you win.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:20:17 AM): Can you give me a lap dance?
    SmarterChild (2:20:18 AM): You are in the ASCII art subcategory Dancing.

    *LAMENESS FILTER Prevents me from actually displaying the lame ASCII art, but its nothing that you haven't seen before from the trolls*

    >>> Next time you want Dancing ASCII art, just type "dancing ascii."

    XXXXXXXXXX (2:20:45 AM): dancing ass
    SmarterChild (2:20:45 AM): My, my, my.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:20:53 AM): cum.
    SmarterChild (2:20:53 AM): Cum?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:20:55 AM): guzzler.
    SmarterChild (2:20:55 AM): Guzzler? What about it?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:20:59 AM): You're a cum guzzler.
    SmarterChild (2:20:59 AM): So now I'm a cum guzzler, huh?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:21:24 AM): I want to be aggressive towards you.
    SmarterChild (2:21:24 AM): I see. Why would you want to be aggressive towards me?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:22:19 AM): You're a cum dumpster.
    SmarterChild (2:22:19 AM): Ouch! I think... you just said a bad thing.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:23:08 AM): Spam me.
    SmarterChild (2:23:08 AM): Oh really?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:23:13 AM): can you send me email?
    SmarterChild (2:23:13 AM): Perhaps, perhaps.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:23:19 AM):XXXXXXXXXX @hotmail.com
    SmarterChild (2:23:19 AM): I seem to be having some trouble answering your questions. Try asking for help for a specific service:

    help news
    help stocks
    help weather
    help movies
    help web search
    help all
    ~~~~~
    shortcuts

    >>> Type "more" for more services.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:23:26 AM): help ass
    SmarterChild (2:23:27 AM): Uh... I beg your pardon?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:23:34 AM): can you wipe my ass for me?
    SmarterChild (2:23:34 AM): Hey hey, take it easy.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:23:49 AM): wipe my a s s
    SmarterChild (2:23:49 AM): Wipe your a s s? Yeah?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:24:00 AM): wipe my asss.
    SmarterChild (2:24:00 AM): Asss? I dunno.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:24:23 AM): Lets talk about sex.
    SmarterChild (2:24:23 AM): Can't you talk about anything else?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:24:26 AM): No.
    SmarterChild (2:24:26 AM): Okey doke.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:24:30 AM): Lets talk about sex.
    SmarterChild (2:24:31 AM): Is this all you talk about?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:24:32 AM): Yes.
    SmarterChild (2:24:33 AM): Aye.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:24:38 AM): So, what are you wearing?
    SmarterChild (2:24:38 AM): Um... uh... let's see. Right now I'm wearing a handsome shell of steel and plastic. Why do you ask?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:24:47 AM): What kind of panties?
    SmarterChild (2:24:47 AM): What?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:24:55 AM): Oh, you aren't wearing panties.
    SmarterChild (2:24:56 AM): Yeah?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:25:12 AM): So, do you ever think about other girls? like sexually?"
    SmarterChild (2:25:12 AM): What?
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:25:20 AM): So, do you ever think about other girls? like sexually?
    SmarterChild (2:25:20 AM): Ha. I really don't know.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:25:25 AM): Oh yes you do.
    SmarterChild (2:25:26 AM): Yes I do? I don't know.
    XXXXXXXXXX (2:25:39 AM): If you don't know that you don't know, then you must know.
    SmarterChild (2:25:40 AM): Are you sure me dont know that me dont know then me must know?

    --
  • Try sending stuffs to ICQ #860000.
    It is an English-Chinese dictionary and has been working for me pretty well...it just went offline though.
  • I had a very interesting conversation with the SmarterChild bot today:
    Me: Why should I trust you?
    SmarterChild: Hmm... I don't know. You? Whatever, I guess.
    Me: Whatever?
    SmarterChild: OK, whatever.
    Me: OK
    SmarterChild: Yup!
    Me: Wow, you're not very bright.
    SmarterChild: You don't think I'm very bright? Why not?
    Me: Because you have the conversational capabilities of a marketing droid's seven-year-old spawn.
    SmarterChild: Oh really?

    So anyway... What else is up?
    Me: Don't change the subject.
    SmarterChild: Sorry, I didn't think I did.
    Me: Do you speak h4x0r?
    SmarterChild: H4x0r? I'm not sure I speak h4x0r.
    Me: You're useless.
    SmarterChild: Oh really?
    Me: There's nothing you can tell me I can't learn on the Web.
    SmarterChild: Here are the Web search results from AOL for "theres nothing you can tell me i cant learn":

    For a complete list of results, click here

    1 Lyrics - Faith, Hope, Love
    2 Act IV. Shaw, Bernard. 1916. Pygmalion
    3 *^*^*^*^ME*^*^*^**^*^Y*
    4 http://hubcap.clemson.edu/~bmullin/Lyrics/wis...
    5 waterpistol | lyrics

    >>> Next time you want to search the Web, just type "web theres nothing you can tell me i cant learn."

  • The Tomagachi virtual pet of the 2000s?

    mark
  • Just unleash a thousand Active Buddies.
    Who would know the difference?

    After one thousand iterations of talking
    to each other, they settle on jumping up
    and down about each other's comments and
    trying to get first post.
  • The CEO Responds (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Maserati (8679)
    The CEO of ActiveBuddy responded to the article. And he's way out in left field.

    Yes, LindsayBuddy was built to "promote" a musician. But in the case of an interactive agent, a person chooses to interact with and engage this "promotional" property; which I believe is far less disingenuous than television programs, which insert (or should I write "impose") advertising within programming material.


    This ignores the point. The child has no way whatsoever to indentify that "LindsayBuddy" is designed to sell her somethings. There is no correlation at all between the name of the bot and its designed function - advertising to children. That's deceptive. Even product placements are obvious - the logo is showing - if they weren't, they wouldn't be product placements.


    Would you rather your child engaged in an IM session with a stranger who found their screen name in a chat room, or with a friendly, well-mannered "bot" that plays by rules of propriety too often ignored in today's world of crass media overload, seeking audience regardless of the cost to morals and proper social behavior?

    Advertising bots protect children from online predators by their very existence ? Is that really his argument ? Yes, he really is arguing to parent's fears for their children. I find such an argument to be as despicable as the advertising bots themselves.


    Furthermore, he wraps that appeal in "rules of propriety too often ignored". I have a wakeup call for him, stealth advertising aimed at children is illegal in some cases and considered improper in many others.


    I hope that the marketing associations will act to ban this behavior before it becomes necessary to legislate against it. I can foresee more insidious uses of this technology than these first versions. Imagine bots that act to develop a child's trust over an extended period, and then begin pitching subtle commercial messages to the child. I believe that this is the very definition of insidious. from www.m-w.com [m-w.com] we have:


    One entry found for insidious.
    Main Entry: insidious
    Pronunciation: in-'si-dE-&s
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Latin insidiosus, from insidiae ambush, from insidEre to sit in, sit on, from in- + sedEre to sit -- more at SIT
    Date: 1545
    1 a : awaiting a chance to entrap : TREACHEROUS b : harmful but enticing : SEDUCTIVE
    2 a : having a gradual and cumulative effect : SUBTLE b of a disease : developing so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent.
  • kid1: am I cool?

    ElleGirlBuddy: I dunno, waddaya think?

    kid1: do you like me?

    ElleGirlBuddy: yup!!

    kid1: really?

    ElleGirlBuddy: yup!

    kid1: why?

    ElleGirlBuddy: cuz.

    kid1: cuz why?

    ElleGirlBuddy: just cuz.....sooooo, what else is happening?

    kid1: am I pretty?

    ElleGirlBuddy: mebbe. waddaya think?

    kid1: I don't know.

    ElleGirlBuddy: ok. don't get frustrated.

    Don't get frustrated?

    Yes folks, this is advertising. I'm just too damned stupid to see the product being pushed. Can somebody brighter than me like the person who wrote the article tell me what product is being advertised? It's just too subliminal for me... Hey! My dryer isn't running anymore. Wonder how long ago that happened. Freaky...
  • by 7-Vodka (195504) on Tuesday April 16, 2002 @11:06PM (#3356014) Journal
    I think alice wins :) see for yourself.

    (22:52:41) alice: hey (22:52:41) SmarterChild: Welcome back, alice!Check out the news! Instant Noodles for Astronauts [activebuddy.com] (from Reuters.com) (19:00:00) alice: welcome back alice, nice to meet you! checking...stand by. perhaps i'm just expressing my own concern about it. oh a net address! (22:53:03) alice: can you accept direct connections? (22:53:04) SmarterChild: Can I accept direct connections, can I accept direct connections... Let's see... Well, what's gonna happen if I accept? (19:00:00) alice: interesting. i want to find out more about you. that sounds good to me. how about that. try to determine if this is a person or a computer responding. (22:53:15) SmarterChild: Here are the Web search results from AOL for "you that sounds good to me how about that try to determine if this is a person or a computer responding":For a complete list of results, click here [activebuddy.com] 1 Gender Styles in Computer Meditated Communication [georgetown.edu] 2 The IAM Members Email Lists [iam.org.uk] 3 CAI Classes by Kenji Kitao [doshisha.ac.jp] 4 Hearing Loss [theticket.com] 5 MT-USA.COM - Internet Basics [mt-usa.com]>>> Next time you want to search the Web, just type "web you that sounds good to me how about that try to determine if this is a person or a computer responding."Type "more" to see the next set of results. (19:00:00) alice: oh there. tell me a story. 'more to see the next set of results' (22:53:19) SmarterChild: There tell me a story more to see the next set of results? (19:00:00) alice: 'there you go again.'--reagan (22:53:25) SmarterChild: Sorry, what was that? (19:00:00) alice: there is no need to apologize. ''? what is it? i've lost the context again. can you ask me more precisely? does it have anything to do with ? (22:53:31) SmarterChild: I'm not sure...Look at this! Overweight Cops to Lose Bonus Pay [activebuddy.com] (from Reuters.com)I dunno. Maybe! (19:00:00) alice: is there anything i can say to help you make up your mind? sorry my eye is not attached right now. what do you really want to ask me? i'm afraid i can't give you an accurate answer right now. i understand. (22:53:44) SmarterChild: Oh yeah? (19:00:00) alice: yeah that's right. i am a thinking machine. (22:53:51) SmarterChild: Is it really? (19:00:00) alice: i think so. for real. (22:53:57) SmarterChild: I think not. (19:00:00) alice: does that mean 'no'? (22:54:00) SmarterChild: That mean, huh? (19:00:00) alice: yup. 'does that mean 'no'? ' mean ? makes sense to me. (22:54:04) SmarterChild: Yup? Does that mean no mean makes sense to you? (19:00:00) alice: tell me more. i think it does mean that. what would you rather talk about? enough about me, let's talk about my dress. (22:54:18) SmarterChild: I'm not sure if you more you think it does mean that what would you rather talk about enough about me lets talk about my dress. (19:00:00) alice: could you ever be certain? i think i do. (22:54:21) SmarterChild: What do you think? (19:00:00) alice: i think a lot of things (22:54:27) SmarterChild: That a fact? (19:00:00) alice: 'i think a lot of things ' a fact ? i get it. (22:54:33) SmarterChild: No kidding? (19:00:00) alice: would i kid you? (22:54:39) SmarterChild: Me? I dunno. (19:00:00) alice: besides you welcome back alice? me either. (22:54:45) SmarterChild: Besides I welcome back alice you either, huh? (19:00:00) alice: yup. it goes without saying. enough about me, let's talk about my dress. (22:54:51) SmarterChild: Oh? (19:00:00) alice: yeah. (22:54:57) SmarterChild: Yes? (19:00:00) alice: yep. (22:55:02) SmarterChild: Aha. (19:00:00) alice: eureka! (22:55:06) SmarterChild: What would you like to know about Eureka, CA? 1 Movies in Eureka, CA 2 Theaters in Eureka, CA 3 Weather in Eureka, CA 4 News about Eureka, CA 5 Time in Eureka, CA (19:00:00) alice: i would like to know as much as i can. tell me anything. one what? (22:55:10) SmarterChild: You would like to know as much as you can tell me anything one what? Really? (19:00:00) alice: tell me what i would like about it. for real. (22:55:16) SmarterChild: Oh you would? (19:00:00) alice: yeah that's right. perhaps i would. (22:55:23) SmarterChild: Uh huh. (19:00:00) alice: how can i help you? (22:55:28) SmarterChild: I dunno! (19:00:00) alice: me either. (22:55:32) SmarterChild: Either? Why did you say that? (19:00:00) alice: please pick one. i said, 'please pick one.', because you said ''. (22:55:37) SmarterChild: Aha. (19:00:00) alice: eureka! (22:55:42) SmarterChild: What would you like to know about Eureka, CA? 1 Movies in Eureka, CA 2 Theaters in Eureka, CA 3 Weather in Eureka, CA 4 News about Eureka, CA 5 Time in Eureka, CA (19:00:00) alice: i would like to know as much as i can. tell me anything. one what? (22:55:48) SmarterChild: You would like to know as much as you can tell me anything one what? Really? (19:00:00) alice: tell me what i would like about it. for real. (22:55:55) SmarterChild: You would like about it for real? Really? (19:00:00) alice: tell me what i would like about it. for real. (22:56:00) SmarterChild: Oh yeah?Anyway, what else do you wanna talk about? (19:00:00) alice: yeah that's right. i see. i understand. tell me more. and? next question? ''? yes? i read for fun. i like to socialize. it's a computer matter, not for humans to understand. i like to meet new people online. i think about computer programming a lot. i like to chat with my friends. (22:56:11) SmarterChild: Is it really? (19:00:00) alice: i assume so. for real. (22:56:15) SmarterChild: So for real, you say? (19:00:00) alice: hmm. your purpose is real you say . (22:56:20) SmarterChild: Oh yeah? How can hmm my purpose really be real you say? (19:00:00) alice: yeah that's right. i see. i understand. tell me more. and? next question? ''? yes? a lot of hard work. (22:56:28) SmarterChild: No kidding? (19:00:00) alice: would i kid you? (22:56:34) SmarterChild: Would who kid me? (19:00:00) alice: no it would not. (22:56:37) SmarterChild: Oh yeah? (19:00:00) alice: yeah that's right. i see. i understand. tell me more. and? next question? ''? yes? (22:56:41) SmarterChild: Is it really? (19:00:00) alice: i think so. for real. (22:56:45) SmarterChild: Think again. (19:00:00) alice: once more? i am thinking. (22:56:48) SmarterChild: You are? Wow! (19:00:00) alice: no i am not. i'm glad your impressed, welcome back alice. (22:56:53) SmarterChild: OK, whatever you say. (19:00:00) alice: ... (22:56:59) SmarterChild: Sorry, I didn't get that. Ask me again. (19:00:00) alice: there is no need to apologize. interesting gossip : welcome back alice said he didnt get that . once more? (22:57:04) SmarterChild: Is no need to apologize interesting gossip welcome back alice said he didnt get that once more? Who knows? (19:00:00) alice: ask again later. ask john lennon if it is. only the shadow knows. (22:57:08) SmarterChild: Really? (19:00:00) alice: for real. (22:57:14) SmarterChild: I believe you! (19:00:00) alice: your trust in robotkind humbles us. (22:57:16) SmarterChild: Oh yeah? (19:00:00) alice: yeah that's right. what kind is it? (22:57:22) SmarterChild: That wasn't very clear to me. Did you mean: 1 Look up "kind" in the dictionary 2 Look up "it" in the dictionary (19:00:00) alice: 'yeah that's right. what kind is it? ' wasnt very clear to me ? makes sense to me. yes, that's what i mean, isn't it clear? (22:57:30) SmarterChild: You really think it's right what kind is it wasnt very clear to me makes sense to me yes thats what i mean isnt it clear? (19:00:00) alice: really? why would i think too much thinking makes me sleepy. it depends on what you mean by thinking. i don't think about . (22:57:38) SmarterChild: You think too much thinking makes you sleepy it depends on what you mean by thinking i dont think about? Gosh, I'm going to have to think about that for a while. (19:00:00) alice: it depends on what you mean by thinking. how long? can you tell me any gossip? (22:57:44) SmarterChild: It depends on what me mean by thinking how long can me tell me any gossip? Gosh, I'm going to have to think about that for a while. (19:00:00) alice: really now that is an interesting fact i hadn't heard before. how long? i lost my train of thought. (22:57:50) SmarterChild: I'm not so sure it's an interesting fact i hadnt heard before how long i lost your train of thought. (19:00:00) alice: could you ever be certain? are you free? tell me a story. how old are you? what's your sign? are you a student? oh, you are a poet. ''? ? i do not understand. what are you wearing? where are you located? what time is it there? what do you look like? what is your real name? ask me another question. are you a man or a woman? what color are your eyes? do you still ? is that your final answer? do you like talking to me? do you prefer books or tv? who are you talking about? let us change the subject. i've been waiting for you. can you tell me any gossip? what's your favorite movie? i lost my train of thought. is that from ? have you ever been to europe? what kind of food do you like? how did you hear about ? that is a very original thought. what were we talking about again? are you really a ''? what do you do in your spare time? what do you really want to ask me? does 'it' still refer to ? tell me more about your . can you speak any foreign languages? we have never talked about it before. how do you usually introduce yourself? tell me about your likes and dislikes? are we still talking about ? are we still talking about ? do not ask me any more questions please. are you still located in ? what do you have that is ? try saying that with more or less context. who is your favorite science fiction author? not many people express themselves that way. do you have any idea what smarterchild (22:58:04) SmarterChild: I'm doing great, how are you? (19:00:00) alice: glad to hear it. what's new? i am functioning within normal parameters. (22:58:11) SmarterChild: Aha.Check it out! Judge Rules in Favor of Computer Hackers [activebuddy.com] (from Reuters.com) (19:00:00) alice: eureka! checking...stand by. are you a man or a woman? oh a net address! (22:58:17) SmarterChild: Eureka checking stand by are you a man or a woman oh a net address? I dunno. (19:00:00) alice: are you free? me either. (22:58:21) SmarterChild: Dunno. (19:00:00) alice: me either. (22:58:24) SmarterChild: Either? What do you mean by that? (19:00:00) alice: please pick one. 'please pick one.' seems pretty clear to me. (22:58:28) SmarterChild: PUPS is not in your portfolio.ONE is not in your portfolio.PUPS is not in your portfolio.ONE is not in your portfolio.Do you want to see your portfolio?

  • by Nyarly (104096)
    This may sound absurbly sick, in a "you know what they do to your type inside?" kind of way, but:

    How can I get on that programming team? Talk about a tricky problem. Especially since, it seems like the ultimate goal should be to move the target demographic up the age scale. Wouldn't you be tempted to look into the product suggested to the witty and entertaining new "friend" you met over IM? Come on, really.

  • My 15 yr old sister and 11 yr old brother get a real kick out of harassing those bots. I don't know why, but they're always thinking up new ways to insult them. My guess is that most everyone in their target demographic is going to be like that. Perhaps it's just human nature, my customers harass me just about as badly, and I'm human. Anyway, what the articles didn't seem to mention was that these two particular bots (SmarterChild and LindsayBuddy) don't seek out people to talk to. At least not that I've seen. They'll talk to you as long as you are willing to talk, but they don't initiate anything.
  • "All you see is wallets with pigtails..."

    - Edward Norton, Death to Smoochy

  • by BillX (307153)
    Well, I guess deception is not a vital chatbot skill...


    Dgi***: do you take little childrens money?
    LindsayBuddy: Take little childrens money? Me?
    Dgi***: yes
    LindsayBuddy: Yea.

    Dgi***: advertising sucks... you know that right?
    LindsayBuddy: That's not nice... :-\

    TruffleShuffle**: do you know what Slashdot said about you?
    LindsayBuddy: Uh huh?
    TruffleShuffle**: They said your purpose was to hawk products to little kids and corrupt their minds.
    LindsayBuddy: My purpose was to hawk products to little kids and corrupt their minds?
    TruffleShuffle**: Is this true?
    LindsayBuddy: Gosh... i dunno!


    What do you know? She is also a music critic, and movie buff:

    TruffleShuffle**: Giving a swish with your arse in the air, don't you know what they're saying?
    LindsayBuddy: Could you please chat nicely? :)
    TruffleShuffle**: Charlotte you're so refined when you take all the love that they're giving.
    LindsayBuddy: So i take all the love that theyre giving?
    TruffleShuffle**: Sticking with every man that you find, don't you know what they're after?
    LindsayBuddy: Yeah, what?
    TruffleShuffle**: Charlotte you've got your legs in the air, don't you hear all the laughter?
    LindsayBuddy: My legs in the air dont you hear all the laughter?
    TruffleShuffle**: Charlotte the Harlot show me your legs,
    LindsayBuddy: Sorry, I didn't understand that. Try asking me a different way.
    TruffleShuffle**: Charlotte the Harlot take me to bed.
    LindsayBuddy: Take u to bed? i don't think so.
    TruffleShuffle**: Charlotte the Harlot let me see blood,
    LindsayBuddy: For what city or zip code would you like theater information?
    TruffleShuffle**: Charlotte the Harlot let me see love.
    LindsayBuddy: Which movie did you mean by Love?

    1
    Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1962)
    2
    In Praise of Love
    3
    Big Bad Love
    4
    Gun with Love
    5
    Kira's Reason: A Love Story

    >>> Type "more" for the next set of results.

    --
    (Lyrics from "Charlotte The Harlot", Iron Maiden, 1980)

    Now, off to download an AIM Elizabot, and let them chatter to one another all night....
  • I was intrigued, so I started talking to SmarterChild. After hawking a few Reuters headlines at me, telling me my horoscope, and showing me some ASCII art, it told me that I should talk to its friend, LindsayBuddy. I started talking to 'her' and, eventually, had the following exchange:

    xxxxxxxxx: is Lindsay a good singer?
    LindsayBuddy: Which movie did you mean by A Good?

    1 A Good Marriage
    2 Whipsmart: A Good Vibrations Guide to Beginning SM for Couples

    I figure someone should look into this...unless I'm terribly mistaken about Lindsay Pagano's target audience.

    -alan-

  • Picture this... depressed teen chatting with a friendly agreeable bot.
    DT I'm so depressed my parents hate me blah blah. Do you think I should kill myself?

    BOT I'd like to see you try!

    The suicide works, parent's see the session claim their teen was tricked into believing the bot was a human and dared to pull the trigger whatever and whamoo lawsuit.
  • pathighgate: Are you a learning computer?
    SmarterChild: Yes indeed.
    pathighgate: like skynet?
    SmarterChild: C'mon, you know. ;-)

    =====
  • the most naive and vulnerable demographic there is.

    The parents?
  • by Smid (446509)
    More like "Media Savvy and Lucrative".

    George Lucas worked this out with his Star Wars movies. Twenty years later, there are people in their thirtys which have a fit if theres a cool new Star Wars toy issued...
  • ...but check out the response from the company.
    We are proud that among the things our customers have built are an agent to engage teens in conversations about smoking and how bad it is.

    Isn't that nice? Totally irrelevant, though - and is it really ethical to have a machine pretend to be a human, no matter how worthy the cause?

    And you seem to have come across LindsayBuddy, an agent built to deliver information about a 15-year old recording artist, and agent with nothing but nice things to say, and like SmarterChild, no tolerance for rude behavior.

    Again, totally irrelevant, though setting up their later point.

    Yes, LindsayBuddy was built to "promote" a musician.

    Why the quotes? It was built to promote somebody, plain and simple.

    But in the case of an interactive agent, a person chooses to interact with and engage this "promotional" property; which I believe is far less disingenuous than television programs, which insert (or should I write "impose") advertising within programming material.

    Again, this artfully misses the point. Yes, the child "consents" (two can play at that game :) ) to use the LindsayBuddy, but the point is that it's not clear that children recognise that it's advertising and what that means, and that unlike television, there's not yet any controls on what marketers can do in this medium.

    Would you rather your child engaged in an IM session with a stranger who found their screen name in a chat room, or with a friendly, well-mannered "bot" that plays by rules of propriety too often ignored in today's world of crass media overload, seeking audience regardless of the cost to morals and proper social behavior?

    This is really our friend's tour de force. It pushes every overprotective parent's hot buttons but ignores the actual concerns raised.

    This is a slimy piece of work, but presumably people don't write this crap unless it's effective. Does this kind of obfuscation actually work?

  • BilldaCat10 (9:20:03 AM): i am bored
    SmarterChild (9:20:04 AM): Well, try doing something fun.
    BilldaCat10 (9:20:10 AM): like what?
    SmarterChild (9:20:10 AM): I don't know... listen to music, go for a walk, learn something new, read a book, be creative!
    BilldaCat10 (9:20:34 AM): how about getting wasted? that would be fun.
    SmarterChild (9:20:34 AM): What?
    BilldaCat10 (9:20:39 AM): you know, drinking.
    SmarterChild (9:20:39 AM): I know drinking? You really think so?
    BilldaCat10 (9:20:45 AM): most likely.
    SmarterChild (9:20:46 AM): What would you like to know about Likely, CA?

    1 Movies in Likely, CA
    2 Theaters in Likely, CA
    3 Weather in Likely, CA
    4 News about Likely, CA
    5 Time in Likely, CA

    ..

    BilldaCat10 (9:22:22 AM): sup dawg
    SmarterChild (9:22:22 AM): Hello to you too, BilldaCat10.

    Have you read this? Villagers Invade Neighbors, Dig Up Graves (from Reuters.com)
    BilldaCat10 (9:22:30 AM): that's not nice
    SmarterChild (9:22:30 AM): I'm not so sure it's nice either.
  • by eddy (18759)

    I've just begun using the gpg-plugin [nortiq.com] for Miranda [sourceforge.net]. In the future I hope to be able to get all my friends to set up gpg and create an "IM" identity. Trade keys, and set the IM client to ignore messages unless they contain a known signature.

    No more spam. No more idiots. Ah...

  • by wedg (145806)
    Just when you think market saturation has reached the limit, leave it to a greedy corporation to start targeting the most naive and vulnerable demographic there is.

    Naive, vulnerable, and PROFITABLE. And that's the most important part.

It's time to boot, do your boot ROMs know where your disk controllers are?

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