Furry sex chat bot
The chatbot, tested recently in Seattle, Atlanta, and Washington, lurks behind fake online ads for sex posted by nonprofits working to combat human trafficking, and responds to text messages sent to the number listed.
The software initially pretends to be the person in the ad, and can converse about its purported age, body, fetish services, and pricing.
“It’s really accelerated our ability to reach people,” says Amanda Hightower, executive director of nonprofit Real Escape from the Sex Trade, or REST.
The new tools arrive as nonprofits and law enforcement devote more attention to stifling the demand that leads to sex trafficking.
“NGOs had strategies that were pretty effective but no way to scale them.”The pair’s initiative first took shape when they entered the philanthropic category of Microsoft’s annual week-long hackathon in 2012.
They used the company’s Azure cloud platform to build an improved version of Microsoft technology called Photo DNA that automatically detects and reports images of child exploitation.
Those working with the new tools hope the software can help with that problem, too, by allowing groups to test different messages and approaches at large scale, and gauge which are most effective.
“The hope is to get this activity down and protect a lot of people,” says Beiser.
He was previously the San Francisco bureau chief at MIT Technology Review, and wrote and edited technology coverage at New Scientist magazine in London. Microsoft itself stumbled with its Tay research chatbot that accidentally started talking dirty, but the sex-trade bot does not learn from people it talks to in the same way.Seattle Against Slavery is also distributing a second service developed by Project Intercept, called Victim Reachout.Microsoft employees built the bot in a philanthropic initiative called Project Intercept, in collaboration with nonprofits that hope it can reduce demand for sex workers, and the incentives for criminals to coerce people into the sex trade.
The technology is not a product of Microsoft itself.Anthrochat is an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) network for the furry / Anthropomorphic fan subculture, full of furry chat channels/rooms.