字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント Technology has brought us a lot of wonderful things, such as ordering a pizza with a single button, or receiving text alerts -- about how close your pizza is. However, not everything is sunshine and pizzas in the digital age. Once upon a time, you could say with confidence that the person you were talking to is, well, an actual person. That's no longer the case as robocalls and chatbots, computer programs designed to simulate human interaction over the phone or on the web, are more common than ever, and getting more sophisticated every day. If you want to know whether the person on the other end is flesh and blood, or silicon and circuits, you'll want to hear about these five tricks for catching chatbots in the act. Number One: The Account is too Active While you're poking around for your favorite game, Pizza Master Pro, you notice one account seems to be posting quite a bit of content in rapid succession. While it's understandable that people would be enthused about the best pizza simulator, twenty posts a day seems like a bit much. They have to sleep at some point, right? Not if they’re a bot. They can post all night long. My point is that since bots don’t need to sleep, they can spend all night spamming your feed with suspiciously similar posts. So, if one account is posting comments 24/7 365, you've probably got a bot on your hands. While we’re on the subject of samey posts… Number Two: Suspiciously Similar Comments Not everyone has a direct line to the muses, so maybe you shouldn’t be too harsh on people for leaning on the same old jokes. It might get annoying, but it doesn’t mean they’re a machine. Now, if they’re posting the exact same comment all the time and every single one has a link to the same website, you probably have a bot on your hands. An annoying bot, which is the worst kind; and I’m including the ones designed to steal your credit card numbers. Chatbots may be complicated machines, but they’re still just machines. Creative thinking isn’t exactly their forte, or their pommel either. And if you get that joke, you deserve a prize! Bots pick words out of comments posted by real humans and run them through an algorithm to select the appropriate response. The complexity of the algorithms and number of responses will vary depending on the resources available to whoever programmed it, but it doesn't take that much programming knowledge to get a basic bot up and running. This is easier to pull off in a text-based medium like Facebook, Reddit, or YouTube’s comment section, but it can work over the phone too. The weakness here is that there are only so many responses the programmer can plan for, so a similar question or statement will usually result in an identical response. This means that if you're ever not sure what you're dealing with, you can try asking them a series of very similar questions. If they respond with the same thing over and over again, and don't notice you're asking slight variations on the same question, then you've got a bot in your chat. Number Three: They Have Trouble Answering Simple Questions Chatbots are pretty good at pulling trivia out of thin air. They're basically just a search engine with delusions of humanity, so it would be pretty embarrassing if a bot designed to pass as a human can be outsmarted by Siri or Google voice. Conversations are more than just listing facts and answering yes or no questions. They require a little bit of common sense, a field that computers don't exactly excel at. Bots often don't know what to do with jokes and have no understanding of context or the nuance of social interaction. Sarcasm? What’s that? You can take advantage of this failing through a trick known as “Two Step Dissociation.” This is where you ask the potential bot a question, then follow it up with a second question that only makes sense in the context of the first. When explaining this concept, digital marketing expert Anthony Helmstetter uses the following example. The human caller asks the bot where it’s located, and it replies, "Seattle." The caller then asks, “What’s the weather like outside?” and the machine replies, “Can you please rephrase the question?” A human would understand that the caller was asking what the weather was like in Seattle, but the bot just can’t connect those dots. If your customer service rep can’t make a simple connection like that, it probably isn’t a real person on the other end. On the subject of things that aren’t real people, why doesn’t Google’s voice have a name? Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft all named their digital assistants, so why not Google? Don’t feel bad, Google voice, I think you’re fantastic. What about you, BrightSider? Tell me in the comments if you prefer Siri, Alexa, Google, or Cortana when you need to look something up, but don’t want to get your hands dirty on that filthy keyboard. Number Four: Sparse Profiles Do you remember the first time you logged into Facebook? They wanted you to set a profile picture, a background picture, enter a birthday, job, school, hometown, relationship status, and plenty of other things. While not everyone fills out every single field, most people will at least cover the basics. Just enough for people to get an idea of who you are beyond the pictures of cats, eggs, and cats in egg cartons. That’s a real thing, by the way. Since humans are big on oversharing, you can probably guess that bots aren’t that into it. Most websites that allow users to leave public comments require them to register an account. Not every site expects a full bio, and not every person is willing to give it, but if the account is nothing more than a name and placeholder profile pic than you might have a bot on your hands. While this might not be conclusive evidence, it’s a pretty big red flag. If you notice a whole bunch of these barren accounts, that's a much bigger red flag. In that case, you don’t just have one bot, you have an infestation. You see, the automatic responses bots give out tend to be chock full of keywords. Those keywords attract other bots, whose responses attract more bots. This can lead to a feedback loop of automatic responses to automatic responses. Even when things don’t escalate that far, bots still love to follow each other around. Particularly nefarious programmers will go as far as creating bots specifically to upvote the comments of their other bots. So, if you ever see a bunch of incomplete accounts with obviously randomly generated names are tagging each other’s Tweets, you’ve got yourself a flock of bots. Number Five: Clumsy Attempts to Steer the Conversation People don't just go around programming bots for the sake of it. They serve a purpose. Some are ads, some are scams, and some are there because even trolls need to get their beauty sleep. As a result, bots have something of a one-track mind and will continuously try to twist the conversation around to whatever their programmer wants it to be. This can overlap with its inability to read the room when they try to warp the discourse in nonsensical ways. What does laser hair removal have to do with the game review you just read? Nothing. Is there a paragraph-length comment raving about it? You bet! Users and moderators have gotten pretty good at spotting the clumsier attempts, but more sophisticated bots can slip under the radar as long as no one looks too closely. Still, a bot is a bot, and even when the programmers try to be subtle, they tend to fixate on one topic exclusively. While a clever bot might be able to slip past the casual observer, get them talking, and it’s not long before their limitations start to show. Hearing about all this, you might get the impression that all chatbots are bad. That isn't the case, and many serve useful functions. Customer service bots can be frustrating, but they can help troubleshoot problems that don't require human intervention. Robocalls can be a pain, but also serve essential purposes, such as appointment reminders and emergency alerts. Still, there are enough sneaky robots out there that it’s handy to know how to tell a person from a machine. Like me! Ha ha ha. Okay yes, I’m real. And hey, if you learned something new today, then give the video a like and share it with a friend! And here are some other cool videos I think you'll enjoy. 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