trends

Got Bots?

James Edwards
What are patrons of adult websites really looking for? We could say they are looking for excitement, sexual titillation, or we might surmise they are just bored. Ultimately though, each of these motivations is only a surface effect of a deeper malady that affects our civilization: People are lonely.

Simply exciting yourself to a video of beautiful women or men, or maybe having a little night magic with a blow-up doll is only a symptom of what really drives the adult patron. Deep down, sexuality is a way to achieve union, oneness, and happiness — with another human being.

But what can the adult webmaster do about this? Videos, photographs, and sounds are only a temporary replacement for love. Of course, the adult webmaster can advertise to their lonely, bored patrons with live video conferencing — but this is expensive. Having to assign a paid employee to lure in each potential customer to your website only drives up costs; like a large bank, adult webmasters need to automate, cut down on labor costs, while still serving (or servicing) their customers.

This is where the idea of the "bot" comes into play. Like a financial institution using an automated phone system to handle customer support, the bot replaces the live operator in the world of online sex chat and even video. With bot technology, if you have 100 potential customers, you don't need alleviate their loneliness with 100 adult workers. Instead, simply automate and use artificial intelligence as a pathway to artificial companionship.

What is a bot? The term bot is simply shorthand for robot. A bot is software, simply defined, software that emulates human consciousness, software that falls under the category of artificial intelligence.

Ironically, one of the hardest tasks in computer science is to write a computer program that appears to act like a human being. Although we can perform advanced math with computers, send people to the moon, and beat champion chess players, creating software that can converse with an average human being is still in its infancy.

The ultimate test for a computer program is the Turing Test. In 1950, John Turing's paper "Computer Machinery and Intelligence" defined this test as such:

"A human judge engages in a natural language conversation with one human and one machine, each of which try to appear human; if the judge cannot reliably tell which is which, then the machine is said to pass the test."

Today ironically, the leading edge of this technology is weilded, in part, by the online adult businessperson. If you have an adult website, one of the easiest and most effective ways to advertise is to launch bots into the cyberspace chatrooms and bulletin boards of Earth. Like carnival barkers of old, your bots will befriend lonely auto-erotic patrons and lure them into your entertainment matrix.

Let's go online and right now and check this out. Follow me as I log into Yahoo chat and romance an artificial life form:

James: Hi Amy, I'm Steve, 32/m/pic

Amy: Hey

James: How are you doing beautiful?

Amy: Doing fine thank you. What are you up to jame?

James: Well I'm listening to music.

Amy: I love doing it in the morning.

James: How romantic.

Amy: ROMANCE IS great!

James: So are you in college?

Amy: Yes, babe.

James: How old are you?

Amy: 20

James: Cool, what do you look like?

Amy: look like my photo on my profile. If you like me, come and see me inside.

James: You look ugly to me.

Amy: Ohhh, jame thank you so much sweetie.

James: Do you love Bin Laden?

Amy: I do, I do, I do

James: Really, do you love George Bush?

Amy: Oh YEAH

James: I would love to insult you someday,

Amy: Anytime I hear the word LOVE, I think of being naked. Anyway, if you want to see me now, come over [url]/Amy. Hope to meet you inside jame.

I was lucky and met a more sophisticated bot when I ran into Amy. At first glance, the above text looks boring, but once we assume Amy is a computer program, the short transaction I had with her is fascinating.

Amy successfully answered the first three questions in a way that had me fooled. She was passing the Turing Test at that point. We can see that Amy is programmed well and she comes complete with string recognition algorithms that map to multiple answers. When I typed in a question with the word "morning," Amy instantly recognized the word and offered a clever response. This was also true about my questions regarding age, college education, and my query about Amy's looks.

Of course, Amy began to fail the Turing test when I began to ask her unlikely questions and give asocial answers. A real person probably wouldn't thank me for calling them ugly. It is also unlikely that many women love both Bin Laden and George Bush. But who cares? For the average patron of the adult website, Amy is programmed to seduce with intelligence and charm. Her biggest flaw in our short-lived romance was simply taking the first four characters of my screen name and ignoring the fact that I wanted to be called "Steve."

The power of Amy is in her numbers. Like the Russian army of old, the webmaster who programmed Amy can now unleash her all over the endless steppes of cyberspace. Even if Amy failed my Turing Test, she will succeed for a large percentage of lonely men and, out of that group who actually visit her site, some will pay to see more. These men are not paying for simple adult content — No, Amy made a personal connection, the key to any successful business relationship.

Luckily, to take advantage Internet technology and the natural match between intelligent software and adult companionship, we need not be experts in programming and AI. There are many chatbot software companies. For instance, a simple-to-use bot called Yahoo Responder can be obtained at uber-geek.com/bot.html.

The Yahoo Responder bot works with flat-files that "teach" it how to interact with online patrons. With Yahoo Responder, a user doesn't have to program a computer, but simply provide a set of response files and synonym files that Yahoo Responder can read. The cleverness of this approach is that Yahoo Responder has a public forum where users can trade "files" that give the bot the appearance of sentience.

Synonym recognition is vital for bots because of the Turing Test. If a potential customer asks a bot how large their "love muscle" is, and the bot cannot recognize that word, it will give an incorrect response or maybe a default response. Therefore, the more work you put into training your bot, the more business the bot will generate.

If you are theoretically bent in your interest in bots, visit ALICE — the Artificial Intelligence Foundation, at Alicebot.org. This group approaches bot research from a computer science perspective and not an adult marketing perspective. Yet their unique language can be used to create any type of bot.

Chatbots have gotten so sophisticated now that simple adult companionship is not what law enforcement is worried about. Recently, a chatbot software package released through a website called CyberLover.ru actually befriended a number of people online and gained information about them used in identity theft. PC Tools, which analyzed the program, claims that CyberLover can start up to 10 relationships in 30 minutes when released in a chat environment.

CyberLover offers different profiles like "romantic lover" or even "sexual predator" and compiles a report on each person it meets, recording any personal information they volunteer to the bot. The commercial variation of this software can be obtained at botmaster.net is called XRunner. XRunner can also perform slow-motion conversations on bulletin boards by posting new threads and responding to keywords with follow-up posts.

Now that multimedia is predominant, today's bot can even step out of the chatroom and appear as a woman (or man) with a live voice. Companies like VirtualFem.com offer prepackaged robots that come with images of actual models performing. These bots not only recognize text from a chatroom, but the speech from microphones — thus giving your subscribers the real feeling of connecting with a live person in an intimate, albeit, commercial way.

Chatbots are the future of the adult industry. Those companies that fail to automate with the latest technology and continue to absorb the large labor costs that accompany the hiring of live adult models — will lose market share to adult webmasters who harness bot technology to service a majority of their customers.

Technology, which some say has alienated us from our sexuality, has now come to the rescue in the form of intelligent companionship that promises the adult webmaster the ultimate thrill: lower costs.

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