Talking Turing tests with a fraudbot

Clive Thompson got hit on by a pornographic, credit-card harvesting chatbot, and bored it into submission with a brief dissertation on the Turing test.

"Let's get this party started!" My evening talking to "babygurl01475" ...


  1. I wonder if there are enough geek respondents on the internet to motivate the bot-herders to add specific responses for turing-related keywords…

    “I don’t have a storage tape of infinite length, so I’m technically a finite state machine; but I know a few algorithms that I can execute all night long ;)”

    1. Ha! “Ooh baby. I want to show you my bare state diagram. Just enter your credit card info.”

  2. Interesting. According to the “dialogue”, Turing originally made the test dependent on whether or not you were convinced the program was a *female* human….which assumes a heterosexual male is the observer, and easily swayed by his sexual urges.

        1. Tragic story.

          He was tried for having a homosexual relationship — illegal at the time — and (basically) sentenced to take chemical castration injections. It was the end of his career.

          You can’t help but think that might have been the reason he committed suicide.

          1. Now that you mention it, I think I did read about that at some point. Thanks!

            Amazing how many people are kept from living up to their full potential because some extraneous thing in their personal life is outside the accepted norm.

      1. I don’t know if that is so much ironic as poignant if you think of it.

        What does it mean to convince some one that you are “female” as opposed to human, after all.

    1. The original proposition was not “computer convinces you it’s a girl” OR “computer convinces you it’s human.”

      The original idea involved three actors. An interrogator, and two subjects. One subject was human, one was a computer. If the interrogator couldn’t tell which was which, the computer passes.

      1. I was referring to what was stated in the collision detection link above.

        Wanting to get to the bottom of this without actually spending a lot of time doing actual research, I checked the pfft of all wisdom to get a quick synopsis of what was referred to:

        “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” (1950) was the first published paper by Turing to focus exclusively on the machine intelligence. Turing begins the 1950 paper with the claim “I propose to consider the question ‘Can machines think?'” As he highlights, the traditional approach to such a question is to start with definitions, defining both the terms “machine” and “intelligence”. Turing chooses not to do so; instead he replaces the question with a new one, “which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words.” In essence he proposes to change the question from “Do machines think?” to “Can machines do what we (as thinking entities) can do?” The advantage of the new question, Turing argues, is that it draws “a fairly sharp line between the physical and intellectual capacities of a man.”

        To demonstrate this approach Turing proposes a test inspired by a party game, known as the “Imitation Game”, in which a man and a woman go into separate rooms and guests try to tell them apart by writing a series of questions and reading the typewritten answers sent back. In this game both the man and the woman aim to convince the guests that they are the other. (Huma Shah argues that this two-human version of the game was presented by Turing only to introduce the reader to the machine-human question-answer test.) Turing described his new version of the game as follows:

        We now ask the question, “What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game?” Will the interrogator decide wrongly as often when the game is played like this as he does when the game is played between a man and a woman? These questions replace our original, “Can machines think?”

        Later in the paper Turing suggests an “equivalent” alternative formulation involving a judge conversing only with a computer and a man. While neither of these formulations precisely matches the version of the Turing Test that is more generally known today, he proposed a third in 1952.

        So apparently the original comment in the link above gave too much emphasis to the female aspect of the game, which was in fact only an interim step.

  3. I’ve always wondered about the grammer of these things, and all the extra letters. Is this to mimic the bad texting and street/thug cadence of our youth – or did some idiot pre-type up all these responses super fast and they get used, mistakes and all, in their everyday speech. They show up in junk emails too, sometimes just a bunch of nonsense letters – does anyone know if that serves a purposes? Does it make it hard to search for or filter out?

  4. The extra letters and ‘junk’ are intended to confuse Bayesian analysis.

    The poor grammar is just a side-effect of these being authored by non-native speakers of English.

    1. “The poor grammar is just a side-effect of these being authored by non-native speakers of English.”

      I have to disagree on this point. Watch any MTV or BET? This may be “bad grammar’, but it’s American bad grammar. My point is, some kids are smart enough to know they are using bad grammar, but they do it on purpose per the culture they identify with. I wonder if these bots also have the same lowbrow purpose.

  5. I once drove a fraudbot into silence. I kept flirting and and my fun ended when I told the bot”This sounds like a great idea, all you want is my credit card, I can’t imagine anything going wrong.” I wanted to believe the bot understood my sarcasm. I think it just hates you putting “credit card” and “wrong” in the same sentence

  6. This reminds me of a time when I answered the phone to hear a very monotone voice. I asked him if he was a robot. He wasn’t.

  7. I do this; if i get a message that might be from a bot, I ask it who alan turing was. I’ve gotten false negatives from help desk staffers.

Comments are closed.