Want to avoid creepy texters? This app will bore them into giving up
Published 23/06/2016 | 12:17
A new messaging app helps users automatically dodge unwanted advances from creepy dates by sending boring texts until the person on the other end gets the hint.
Ghostbot is designed to help users tackle "unwanted, aggressive, and even sexually harassing texts". When activated, the chat bot takes charge of an awkward conversation and deflects creepy texters.
Users select the person they'd like to avoid and the robot sets about rejecting them, saving the user from having to suffer through the harassing conversation, or "ghosting" the person on the other end.
Ghosting, a rife phenomenon in online dating, is when a potential partner stops talking to someone they met on an app without offering a reason or goodbye.
Ghostbot claims that its chat bot can help users "exit gracefully" without "inflaming the situation". It sends blunt messages designed to keep the situation civilised, such as a thumbs down emoji in response to a provocative invite.
It has a selection of scripted responses, including "nope", "I just have no time right now", and "sorry, I'm just completely overwhelmed with work". The messages continue in this style until the conversation eventually peters out.
The bot knows not to respond immediately and waits for varying amounts for time before sending its responses, making it seem as if there is a real person on the other end of the phone.
Underpinned by artificial intelligence, Ghostbot can understand some natural advances and will learn from experience. Ad Hoc Labs, the company behind the app, claims that it can tell the difference between a sexual advance and a more innocent invitation to do something.
It also describes the bot's style as "conversational and funny so that it doesn't feel like talking to a robot".