Microsoft has unveiled a new chatbot named Zo, but this time, she’s available on Kik, instead of Twitter, where earlier this year, her predecessor—known as Tay—went on a rather racist tirade before being shut down. I’ve never heard a clear explanation as to why Microsoft is making chatbots, and I have to assume the worst: They are on track to deliver ads.
If you ever spend time on Internet Relay Chat (IRC), you run into these bot things all the time. Their purpose is to get you to visit various porn sites, which has got to be incredibly lame if you think about it. Why not instead put chatbots in place to get you to read an article in the Seattle Times? Or lure you into listening to a specific podcast? Or sell you toothpaste?
A lot of machines have been compromised by various spam mechanisms to send out everything from email to DDoS attacks while you sleep. Much of this is illicit and illegal. But chatbots have never been declared illegal; antispam legislation targets only email systems.
So anyone could develop servers that would “attack” an interactive chatroom or forum and deliver targeted advertising. It wouldn’t have to be just for porn or of the normal spammy crap such as fen-phen or cheap Viagra.
Any given network on the IRC has hundreds of channels. Generally speaking, there are around 20,000 users on any one network. According to the IRC Wiki
Most of the networks ban bots, but a good
But come back later using a different name. If the IP is logged as a spammer, use a VPN service offering thousands of IP addresses.
There is some sort of lash-up like this working on Skype, but again, it is porn-oriented. I use Skype a few times a week to do a couple of different podcasts and each time I load it I find a number of unsolicited messages. I ban them out of
Beverly wants to connect with you.
John: Who are you? What do you want?
Beverly: Hi! I’m Bev.
John: OK…so what do you want?
Beverly: Do you use Crest toothpaste? I have a very special offer for you!
John: Uh, sometimes. What is the offer?
Beverly: CLICK HERE and you’ll get a coupon for a free tube of the new Crest Advanced Formula. You won’t regret it.
Maybe others have seen this sort of thing here or there. I have not. This is the right way to use the chatbot and it explains the research being done by Microsoft and others. There is no alternative: It’s to sell us more stuff.
Look at the
Expect to see a world inundated by endless