SMS pornbots

We could have seen this one coming a mile away. The British company Link 77 has been having much success with Natachata, a chatbot it created that can talk dirty via SMS. People are, quite unsurprisingly, willing to pay per message for steamy chat while locked in boring day-long sales meetings.

Mark Ward of the BBC has a story about it today, with a funny example of a piece of chat:

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”

What’s particularly interesting is that the inventors have grokked some of the Turing peculiarities of SMS — i.e. the stuff a ‘bot has to do to seem human in that medium. Like the popular Alice or Eliza ‘bots, Natachata pulls its responses from an enormous 100,000-strong library of contextualized responses, and can “remember” a few basic facts like the name of who it’s talking to. But the fun part is that once it generates an appropriate response, it “turns it into text slang” and “adds spelling mistakes” — crucial aspects of seeming “real” in SMS-speak. “It even adds a random delay to the return message because, if they were fired back too quickly, people would guess that they were computer-generated,” the BBC notes.

(Thanks to Techdirt Wireless News for this one!)

blog comments powered by Disqus

Search This Site


I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

More of Me


Recent Comments

Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson