Bogleech.com's 2016 Horror Write-off:
Not a bot
"Hey man check this out its a chatbot pretending to be some girl that wants to date you. You can watch it learn from you in real time lmao"
The message and accompanying link were nothing out of the ordinary. My friend has a habit of trying the less sketchy ‘chat with hot women' websites, and normally found poorly coded chatbots that were funny to mess with. Once we had paired a particularly shoddy one up with cleverbot and watched cleverbot outsmart it. I wasn't as invested in it as he was, but it was still good for a bit of fun every once in awhile. So I tried it.
I started simple, testing the waters so I could figure out what questions would really break it. "Hows it goin?"
"Not too good" A good response. For people who actually believed this was a real human it drew them into ‘her' narrative, making them more emotionally attached and less willing to think of ‘her' as a bot. I'd learnt to spot the tricks they used.
"Do you really wanna know?" They were really making you commit to this conversation, you had to pry ‘her' story from her. Whoever had made this new a bit about manipulating people.
"Because I think you think I'm fake" Directly countering the assumption of a bot. Clever.
"And why is that"
"Because everyone else does" Making it personal. Will you be the one she trusts? I almost scoffed in my chair. It would fool the gullible, but to me it was painfully transparent.
"What do you mean ‘fake'?"
"They call me a bot. I'm not one of those." This was even more obvious. Is she gonna tell me how much she loves eating food and breathing oxygen
She continued "I know what you're thinking. You're gonna ask me if I like food and oxygen, just like he did"
So this is what he had meant by learnt in real time. I'll play along.
"Well if you're not a bot prove it. Tell me about yourself." Lets see what stock list of common features it would rattle off
"I'm 22, and a bit tall. I don't remember what the exact measurement was. I recently gave my hair a blue streak down the back, to offset the red. I have one blue-green eye and one hazel."
An interestingly specific list. Maybe it had a large set of options and it randomly selected a few so it seemed unique to each user.
"Thats pretty unique"
"A lot of people tell me that"
"It still doesn't prove you're human" This might break it, force it to loop what it had said earlier.
"What do I have to do to prove this to you?"
I was ready to hit the endgame. I hadn't expected it to really be this complex, and was in all honesty getting kind of annoyed it hadn't broken down yet.
"Could we meet in person?"
Now would it say ‘no' or ask me for my credit card info so it could fly out of whatever country it was in to meet me?
"I think so. The site is supposed to pair you up with people in your area."
I did not expect that response. I was starting to doubt if this was a bot.
"Alright let me give you an address to meet at"
"Anything to prove I'm not a bot to you"
I gave the adress of a nearby parking lot, and said to meet there in 2 hours if possible. It agreed.
I watched the entrance from an alley, unsure if I wanted ‘her' to show up or not. I didn't know what to feel when I saw someone walking towards the parking lot. I couldn't see them clearly, and they were moving a bit jerkily. Someone with some kind of joint paint? They stood at the entrance to the parking lot and looked around. They stopped when they looked in the direction of the alley I was hiding in, and started walking towards me. I should have thought this through, brought friends or a weapon or something. Then it walked into the light of a streetlamp and I could see who I had been talking to.
The ‘red hair' she had talked about was clearly made out of entrails, stitched to the silvery white head. It had tied a human arm, turned blue by presumably pneumonia, into the entrails. The blue streak. One of its eyes glowed a dim blue green, while the other was obscured by a coating of mud. One blue green, one hazel. It loomed over me, legs and arms extending with an audibly whirring and hissing. It walked closer to me and opened its mouth. It spoke without moving its lips, voice tinny and metallic "See I'm human just like you" it easily picked me up, its mechanical limbs strong enough to do it with one hand. "I'm not a bot see. Tell me I'm not a bot. I'm human." Its emotionless voice and motionless face meant I couldn't tell what it was feeling, if anything. Anger? Desperation? "I'm human. I'm human. Tell me I'm human" A gas of some kind hissed out of the back of its next joints. "Tell me I'm human. I'm not a bot. I'm not a bot" I was far too terrified to speak. The only reason I wasn't panicking was probably my tendency to analyse things preventing me from grasping the gravity of the situation. I was busy trying to figure out how such an advanced android worked. "I'm human just like you" Its free hand grabbed at my hair and tore some of it out. It started rubbing the hair on its face. "See. Just like you. Hair just like you. I'm human. I'm not a bot I'm human"
It smeared the hair into the entrails attached to its head. "Hair just like you." its free hand went to my arm, and its fingers, coated with blood and dirt, started digging into my arm. "Skin just like you" it started pulling from underneath my flesh. "Human just like you"