Virtual Lolita poses as schoolgirl aged 14 to trap online paedophiles
As target begins to employ grooming tactics, the 'chatbot' changes in ways designed to lure him in
Wednesday 10 July 2013
A virtual Lolita that poses as a 14-year-old schoolgirl to trap paedophiles on social network sites has been created by scientists.
The conversational agent or "chatbot" known as Negobot is a sophisticated computer program capable of fooling sexual predators into believing she is real.
One police force in Spain, where she was created, has already shown an interest in employing the undercover cybercop.
Placed in a forum where a paedophile is thought to be lurking, Negobot starts off as a passive and neutral participant in general online chatter.
As conversations become more intimate or suggestive, and the "target" begins to employ grooming tactics, her behaviour changes in ways designed to lure him in.
The chatbot might appear insistent or offended, and an attempt to obtain personal information will cause Negobot to try to find out more about the suspect.
Scientists used game theory, a mathematical system of strategic decision making, to make her behaviour more convincing.
A split personality with seven different conversation patterns adds to the realism. Other tricks include inserting "typos", abbreviations, and deliberate language errors, to mimic the actions of a young teenager.
One of Negobot's creators, Dr Carlos Laorden, from the University of Deusto, said: "Chatbots tend to be very predictable. Their behaviour and interest in a conversation are flat, which is a problem when attempting to detect untrustworthy targets like paedophiles.
"What is new about Negobot is that it employs game theory to maintain a much more realistic conversation."
Not only could the program resume discussions separated in time, but it was able to "take the lead" in conversations and use slang expressions.
The team had a collaborative agreement with the Ertzaintza, the Basque Country police force, which had shown "considerable interest", said Dr Laorden.
"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."
Despite having a high degree of artificial intelligence, Negobot's powers of conversation are still limited, the researchers point out. She is unable to detect linguistic subtleties such as irony, for instance.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price Palestinian children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Rotten egg smell could help battle heart disease and Alzheimer's
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...