A Bit Of Chatbot Humor

The other day I got involved in a discussion with what is either a really good chatbot or a really bad human. You decide! My text is in bold, the response is normal.

Annotations (my external comments now that I’m a few moments removed) are in italics.

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Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash

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Chat started on 12 Dec 2019, 03:31 PM (GMT+0)
(03:31:48) *** Ian joined the chat ***
(03:31:48) *** Visitor 44671434 joined the chat ***
(03:31:51) Ian: Hi there
(03:31:52) Ian: — Are you looking to get a website design & Developed ? I am Ian Sr Web Developer Allow me to assist you 🙂
(03:32:02) Visitor 44671434 (Stephan James): hi ian, what’s twelve minus nineteen?

I often pose a question like this to check and see if I’m chatting with a bot.

(03:32:23) Ian: -4 : D
(03:32:33) Ian: I am not a bot don’t worry
(03:32:55) Visitor 44671434: close. it’s actually -7. i hope your web design is better than your math.

Well, that was surprising. First time I’ve seen a bot actually try to answer.

(03:33:11) Ian: Ofcourse it is
(03:33:30) Ian: because that is our specialty and math is not
(03:33:44) Ian: So what is the nature of your business and what sort of a website you are looking for ?

At this point I wasn’t looking for anything. I don’t even remember what website it was on, so I don’t know what I was trying to do! I think it was some web design company. Hm… how can I really freak out this bot?

(03:34:34) Visitor 44671434: well, i’m a porn scammer. i want to create automated e-mails that spam inboxes of unsuspecting grandmothers and ask them for ransom so I don’t publish the pictures of their granddaughters banging boyfriends.

That ought to do it.

(03:34:45) Visitor 44671434: is that something you can help me with?
(03:35:47) Ian: I am sorry i cannot help you in such activity and i wish you also don’t do that ! However thanks

Surprising! Generally you don’t get much pushback. And I don’t understand the “thanks” either, so I’m going to poke this bear a little bit.

(03:36:12) Visitor 44671434: why are you saying “thanks” there?
(03:36:21) Ian: for wasting my t8ime
(03:36:23) Ian: time
(03:36:34) Visitor 44671434: hey, you waste my time, I”m gonna return the favor.
(03:36:53) Ian: Please do that ASAP !

see, now it seems like this isn’t a bot, because of the typo and the correction, but then it says it wants me to “return the favor” of “wasting my time”, which a human wouldn’t do.

(03:37:01) Visitor 44671434: Already on top of it!
(03:37:12) Ian: Don’t be on top its very sharp

Again sounds like an automated kind of response. No way this is a human. A human would be offended and pissed off.

(03:37:42) Visitor 44671434: sharp doesn’t please the ladies, Ian, you know that. you’ve got to be thick but with a gentle touch. sharp is only going to poke and possibly cut.
(03:38:10) Ian: lol

Does this thing understand innuendo? Maybe it’s not a bot after all.

(03:38:37) Ian: Well let’s be honest i really can’t help you in something like this as i really don’t know what kind of a web service will that be for
(03:38:59) Visitor 44671434: good bot. good job. I almost believe you are a human.
(03:39:09) Visitor 44671434: You’re like *this close* to passing that Turing test.

In case you don’t know, the Turing Test is named for Alan Turing, who said that artificial intelligence is achieved when an observer would not be able to tell that one of the parties to a conversation is actually a machine.

(03:39:57) Ian: Well i would suggest you to stop judging who i am and start telling what i can do for you so we could get this on track – as i really won’t get anything even if you pass me

See, now we’re back to the bot trying to sell me on its services. If it were a human, he would have been disgusted with my desire to create a scammy website, and would have ended the chat.

(03:40:53) Visitor 44671434: no “judgment” here. As I said, you can help me build a website for my business. Do you have a problem with profit? Do you have a policy against certain types of business? or is it your individual evaluation as to which are worthy of your help?
(03:41:10) Visitor 44671434: I need the website to attract investors. Mostly information.
(03:41:28) Ian: Well if it was really a business then i don’t have any problem in creating one for you tell me what things you want on it and have you secured a domain name yet ?

100% right, the bot doesn’t care about what kind of business it is, so long as it can close the sale.

(03:42:12) Visitor 44671434: I want someone else to front the $50k that the guy on the dark web told me he needed in order to build the scammy email automation. I’m just the middleman.
(03:42:35) Visitor 44671434: I don’t have a domain secured. Do you have any recommendations?
(03:43:11) Ian: Well you can let me know what domain you would like to secure and i can see if that can be done

Ooh! Options! Mind spinning… What would be something that might not yet exist in the real world?

(03:43:56) Visitor 44671434: I’d like “shadyinvestments.com“.
(03:44:13) Ian: First of all it would be a website which needs to be created so as far the content is concern tell me what pages you would like to have and how soon do you want this to be completed ?

And now that you ask, I am absolutely loving this “create on the fly” aspect that we’re getting in to.

(03:45:42) Visitor 44671434: I need one front page with a “welcome to this crappy website” type of stuff. Then I need 3 pages each with a profile of a grandmother that we’re going to scam. Finally I need a contact page, and I need a separate web forum where we can have private conversations.
(03:45:56) Visitor 44671434: Listen Ian, I’ve got another call in about 15 minutes. Think we can wrap this up before then?
(03:46:07) Ian: Yes we can do that before that –
(03:46:15) Ian: now as far the profiles are concern you have all that data ?
(03:46:22) Visitor 44671434: I can make something up.
(03:46:34) Ian: Okay let me see the domain if it is available
(03:46:41) Ian: how soon do you want this site to be up in running ?
(03:47:15) Visitor 44671434: i’m not in a hurry, i’ve got until like Christmas.
(03:47:52) Ian: We can make it up before christmas

I bet you say that to all the warm leads, Ian.

(03:47:57) Visitor 44671434: Yay!
(03:48:21) Visitor 44671434: Now, I’m a little fuzzy on whether or not you’re a reputable business. can you give me some links to prior customers of yours?

This was a true request. I’m now invested(ish) in this thing, and I just might create a fake website.

(03:49:22) Ian: Also the domain is available and it is for $4000 but i do have other options in the same name available for you Shadyinvestments.co Shadyinvestments.org Shadyinvestments.Us

shady-investments.com

(03:50:31) Visitor 44671434: whoa, $4,000 is too much.
(03:50:45) Visitor 44671434: What can I get for tree fiddy?
(03:51:15) Ian: shady-investments.com < We can secure this one for $500 – for 5 Years
(03:51:27) Visitor 44671434: only $500? that’s more like it!
(03:51:58) Ian: and let me share you some of the sites which we have done www.sammydress.com https://limnia.com/ http://www.lillypulitzer.com https://dogstudio.co/ https://rocka.co/ https://travelshift.com/ https://www.penarosawatches.com/
(03:52:21) Ian: yes $500 for 5 years Domain Name will be www.shady-investments.com
(03:53:00) Visitor 44671434: Hold on, I’m working on something on this end… give me a minute.

I was; I decided to register shady-investments.com for myself, rather than paying them for it. Not sure I’m dropping $500 just yet.

(03:53:04) Ian: Sure
(03:54:12) Visitor 44671434: so, quick question – I just registered shady-investments.com myself, and it only cost $8 for a whole year. Why are you charging $500 for 5 years?

I used namecheap.com. I like using a domain registrar for searching whether or not a website is already active, because in the off case that it’s not, there are other trawlers out there that will note what you searched for, note that there’s no website, and go register that one automatically. Then when you want that one, boom, it’s taken, too, so performing searches as clandestinely as possible is better. 

(03:54:34) Ian: Because that include the hosting Server for 5 years as well on which your website will be hsoted
(03:54:35) Ian: hosted

Oh, that makes sense.

And look, another intentional typo.

I wonder if I could get a data scientist to analyze this type to see whether there is any regularity to the typos?

(03:54:49) Ian: With the Dedicated connection including SSL (Secuirty for the website )
(03:55:00) Visitor 44671434: oh, well why didn’t you explain that before?
(03:55:35) Ian: We send invoice mentioning everything or when confirming the domain name you heavn’t confirmed yet which is why the information was not shared
(03:55:58) Visitor 44671434: see, you’re going to have to go slow with me here. I’m a little new to this whole scamming everyone thing. Most of the businesses I’ve run before have been legit.

Trying to bring it back to “shady investments”.

(03:56:34) Ian: Even i am thinking that you are about to scam me as well with the offer so it would be better to talk over the phone so we could wrap this up shortly
(03:56:39) Ian: May i have your number to call you ?

No way this would be “Ian” calling me, if I actually gave a number it would be some other sales schmuck. Not interested.

(03:57:01) Visitor 44671434: sorry, as I said, I’m going to be on a call in about 3 more minutes.
(03:57:26) Ian: You said 15 minutes and according to my watch you still have 9 minutes left

We had about 3 minutes left. The bot is as bad at math as I was.

(03:57:40) Visitor 44671434: I’m bad at estimating time. I gotta be honest, Ian, I did not expect this to go so well! thank you for everything.
(03:58:33) Ian: Not a problem hopefully will wait for you to come back after the call 🙂 as i found this business very interesting which is why will get you extra discount on it to catch more granny’s !

Again with the sales pitch! I don’t believe that was a real person (like, who would find this business “interesting”), but I’m not kidding. I totally enjoyed the chat, and I now have another website I might develop.

(03:58:57) Visitor 44671434: Awesome!
(04:30:01) *** Visitor 44671434 left the chat ***

***

So, what comes out of this? If you’ll notice, “shadyinvestments.com” is actually registered, as well as “shady-investments.com”. That’s not a problem.

In the next couple of days I put in a request on “shadyinvestements.com” for a quote to buy that domain name. It was something ridiculous like $4,000, and I ended up getting a call from a dude on the phone. He wanted to scare me into buying the name, because people wouldn’t remember the ‘-‘, and then someone would develop the site shadyinvestments.com and scam off all my members, but, remember, I don’t actually have a product.

All I have is an idea.

So I didn’t buy his crappy $4k domain name. I’m gonna make my own crappy domain and get rich!

Let’s make Shady-Investments.com into an entertainment website, where each month we’ll create a questionable, but perhaps plausible, business idea and post about it. The first one is that grandma-scam website. The “shady” part is not that we’re going to scam grandmothers, but that we’re investing $50k to build the website. Will solicit ideas from readers, maybe make it interactive. I bet there’s more that could go up there, and we could gin up some Excel spreadsheets to make it look legit. Do it right, we’ll get some of those “investors” hooked. And then?

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Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

Totally worth it.

Be on the lookout for a launch announcement in Q1 2020!

Writing Practice 11/4/2019

Please stop…

Please stop at the next turn sign up there.

There? I mean, here?

Yes, there. Now. Turn left. Yes, that’s good. So, have you been practicing long?

About six months. I had license in my old country, you know.

Really? Fascinating. Turn left at the next opportunity.

Yes, it was much simpler there, though. We had no road test, only parking lot. Road is not good here, because there are so many other cars! I don’t like it.

Well, that’s fine that you don’t like it, but we do require everyone to be competent, and safe, behind the wheel before they are allowed to drive on their own.

It is just so scary! None of the cars in old country were even nearly so big.

There to the right, please, and watch your speed. You are entering a school zone.

Yes, thank you. Do I need a signal for this? It’s a, what you call it, a traffic circle? Run about?

Roundabout. no, you do not need your signal to enter, but it is a good idea to use one upon existing. Do that now, please.

Damn! Missed.

Not a problem. We’ll go around once more… There, turn out there.

Oh, I have it now!

But you forgot the signal. In the exam the instructor won’t like that.

Perhaps I can give him big smile, he will think I’m pretty?

Yes, of course, he will think you are pretty. Everyone thinks you are pretty.

Oh, stop! You make me blush.

No, it’s true! All of the instructors at the school hope to be assigned to your car when you come in. Today is my lucky day. Don’t forget to slow down over this… Ouch!… speed hump.

Sorry!

Next time be a little more careful.

I will!

your test instructor on the action test, your evaluator, I mean, will instruct you to keep both hands on the wheel at all times, so, in the interest of practice, please remove your hand from my knee.

Sorry!

It’s all right, dear. As I said, that is still a very enjoyable situation. however, it is totally inappropriate for our current session.

I’m sorry again! What can I do to make it up to you?

Nothing, except continuing to drive carefully. No, don’t turn in here, I need you to continue out to the highway. Today’s practice is all about highway driving.

I’m sorry, I just need to stop and pull over for a moment.

Well, okay, but… what are you doing? No, stop! Put that back on! No, madam, I think you misunderstand what’s going on here!

This is not how to get good marks on the driving test?

This is most definitely not how to get good marks on the driving test! Madam, i can clearly see your breasts. I am going to exit the vehicle, and shall not continue until you demonstrate your commitment to ethics and professionalism.

Sir, perhaps you do not understand. This is ethics and professionalism for me.

You’re right, I don’t understand. What are you talking about? Hey! Put my zipper back up! hey! My wife won’t like this.

No, but you will! I have a 4 point 9 star rating!

On what?

Trickr!

Good lord!!!

Writing Practice – 6/26/2019

Why did your side hurt this morning?

Your side hurt because, I’m sorry to say, that’s the last sign of cancer. The scans came back – you have a lump the size of a softball under your ribs. It’s now pushing on your liver, and that’s what caused your pain this morning.

I’m surprised you didn’t come see me earlier. Often, something much smaller than this will cause discomfort, if not outright pain, long before. Either you got very lucky (well, I know it’s not right to say lucky when you’re getting bad news, now is it? My apologies for that misstatement [No, I’m not sorry, I simply apologized. Sorry is an emotion,a. Regret for wrong and harm done. I did you no harm by stating it that way, so why should I apologize?])

Now, where were we? Yes. You must have either gotten very “unique circumstances” [Is that better. Wouldn’t want to offend you again.] in that you either did not feel the tumor pressing on your ribs and your liver and your intestines for months now, or you have an extremely high pain tolerance, and did not feel that the level had yet risen to one which necessitated modification. Hey! I’m trying to give you a compliment here. [Maybe yes it doesn’t much matter, how does it, because yes, you will be in quite a lot of pain over the next few months.]

Oh, I have also thought of another possibility. It could be that you did feel the pain, and that it was at a level that you knew you should get it checked out all those months ago, yet you were too stubborn to come to the doctor, insisting that you were fine, and thus prolonging your pride in yourself and your delusional belief in your faith to heal you.

What I am not derogatory. I am simply exploring all options, all possible avenues of the reason you had a pain in your side this morning, sir, instead of two or four or six months ago. We must admit, one of those reasons could have been your ego.

Now – If you will allow me to continue –

Yet another reason may have been fear. Fear of surgery, pills, or cost. All of which are reasonable fears, sir, but none of which are in the least appropriate for this situation. No? Your’e not fearful? Well, then, perhaps you’re stupid. And you don’t know that pain isa. signal to the brain that something is wrong somewhere, and you should take steps to alleviate the problem. SIT DOWN, SIR! I am not finished with you yet!

You, sir, may be affronted by my blunt manner. I make no excuses for it. I am a man of science, and I must approach the problem scientifically. Since, then, yo have not yet agreed with any of my hypotheses for why you had pain this morning, I must continue my exploration. Finished with your rant?

Good.

Finally, and, sincerely I do believe this is the final option, I must suggest that your felt the pain this morning because you are very, very smart and very, very shrewd. I can see, sir, by the way your bitter, shrill wife beside you treats you and me and my assistance staff outside that she is not a nice woman. She must be terrible to live with. It must be an absolute hell to wake up to that each morning. And thus I conclude, too, from what you have told me of your spiritual beliefs that there is nothing in the way of extraordinary measures that would be taken at the pronouncement of a terminal illness.

Thus, since you knew, at the outset of your pain, that you’d would likely have many, many more years of that same hard, shrill woman by your side, again respecting your religion’s prohibitions against divorce, you chose, in that fateful moment, to mask what you hoped would be a progressive, ultimately fatal condition. And, as it would, as it grew and intensified, that certainty that I, or another professional would announce you terminal only grew in parallel. Having that welcome possibility [illegible], a certainty with which you could assume that I would be the bearer of “bad” news to your wife, which at the same time [illegible] your release from the confines of this marriage, you finally decided that you were ready to abdicate your position as husband, aided and abetted by the tumor growing on your liver, thus achieving a dual purpose – ridding you of the confines of your marriage, while at the same time absolving you of the guilt of having done so of your own volition.

Do I have that about right?

I can only presume by your silence that I do. Madam, I am, in this one, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Your husband will die, likely within four to six weeks. I suggest you both prepare yourselves. My assistant at the front has a packet of references to a hospice, a funeral home, and a cemetery, also well as a grief share group and a widows’ support group. Good Day to you both.

Writing Practice 5/5/2019 – Purple dragon

Purple dragon…

Purple Dragon is the psychedelic punk-rock album of 1975, released to much acclaim and fanfare as the third project of much-applauded Canadian trio Head In My Hole. This Junior project (freshman, sophomore, junior) effortlessly combines twisted guitar rhythms, bursting drum solos in almost every track, wicked lyrics tha trepresent the banality of life at every turn, and a series of song titles an themes which take the listener on an epic journey through an acid trip like no other.

The opening number, “set Aside Your Expectations,” is not just the introduction to the album, it sets the stage for the nearly mind-tripped experience to come. Hugh Laurie, vocalist and lead guitar, sets a pulsating, pounding harmony on his g-string, matched with his lyrics delivered in a raspy, sexy, smolders voice that seems a combination of Bob Dylan and Annie Lennox – mature, yet still naive enough to hope for a better future. “Set Aside…” tells of the advice given to our narrator by his older, wiser, more-stoned college roommate, upon his first foray into experiencing the magic and wonder of LSD. “Prepare for a purple dragon,” the narrator says. “It’ll show up when you least expect it.” And that sets the stage for the rest of the lyrics, music, and, in truth, experience of listening to – or, rather, immersing yourself in, Purple Dragon.

Over the next forty-seven minutes, Head In My Hole explores alternative rhythms and fantastical stories as our narrator recounts the multitude of new horizons pursued at the guidance of his leader. Drugs, sex, rebellion, even hard work.

I won’t spoil the ending. I won’t even give away how irrational it seems to say that it has an ending, for, as with much of the drug-rock of that era, Purple Dragon could easily be played on one continuous loop without losing any kind of continuity whatsoever. Start at track 5, go to 9, back to 1-4, and you would have a completely new, completely different, yet utterly coherent and enjoyable experience nonetheless. Thus the beauty of this album. Much more than a conglomeration of unrelated ideas, whatever happened to bubble up to the surface of the stew pot on the day Hugh and band mates were practicing and writing new songs, Purple Dragon is clearly a nuanced, planned, integrative album worthy of a listen. Find it in your local used Vinyl store. If not there, check eBay. I bet you’ll hatred that it’s certainly worth the effort.