The Internet Pedophile: Seek and Destroy

September 10, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

Trapping the Internet Pedophile

Software developers in Spain, at the University of Duesto, are using virtual people to seek out and destroy child predators.

The virtual people are what we call chatbots, or chatterbots. That’s a short term for chattering robot. If you want to see an example of a chatbot, check out Malicia on this website. In Malicia’s case, I’ve added video. A normal chatbot has no video.

A little background. A chatbot is not a person. It’s simply a program that responds to questions in predictable ways. That is, you ask the question, “What’s your name?” and it will respond with “Bob,” or whatever you’ve trained it to say.

Here’s the important thing: A properly trained chatbot can very closely mimic a real human being. In a chat-room, where people “talk” to each other by typing text back and forth to each other, it is almost impossible to distinguish between a virtual person and the real thing.

The Spanish chatbot developers have designed a chatbot to impersonate a fourteen year-old girl. As they describe “her,” a “virtual Lolita” to trap pedophiles.

They call her Negobot, and she’s designed to convince predators into believing she’s a real person. Put her into a forum, a chat room, where a pedophile is suspected, and she goes to work.

She starts off as a very passive, neutral type of character.

As time passes, and the conversations become more suggestive, more sexually explicit, the chatbot begins responding in ways intended to lure the predator in. She may appear to be petulant or offended, in order to solicit personal information from the suspected predator.

Negobot is even designed with something of a split personality. She has seven different conversation patterns. She’s designed to use typos, abbreviations and bad grammar to convince the predator she’s just a young, impressionable teenager.

Predators beware!

Dr. Laorden, one of Negobot’s creators, says, “Negobot has already been implemented and trialled actively on Google’s chat service and could also be translated into other languages,” he added. “We do not discard the possibility of bringing it to new channels in the future and we believe it could be a very useful tool for social networks to incorporate.”

She’s still fairly limited. It’s difficult to get a chatbot to “take the lead” in a conversation. But the chatbots are getting better and better. I put Malicia together in a couple of days. Imagine how real things could get with a team devoted to catching pedophiles.

Amazing. The future is now.

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Category: Friend Me, Internet, virtual, Writing

About the Author ()

Suspense fiction writer. I have a wife whom I love, and five children ranging from their teens to their forties. I love each one. I've worked a day job as a senior software developer for the last fifteen years. Previous to that I spent nearly thirty years as a foreign missionary in Vietnam and China. Yes, I speak Chinese as a second language :-)

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