Chatting with a bot


At the Galería Ometeotl on Second Life, a Bot named sofi claims to be far superior to the Delphi Oracle.


[18:36] KUSHD0LL: hi there

[18:36] S0fialo: Hi there! Can I help you?

[18:37] KUSHD0LL: was just wondering what’s this place hehe

[18:37] S0fialo:  It seems obvious to me.

[18:38] KUSHD0LL: lulz, yeah i meant what kind of things or role play happens here hun.

[18:38] S0fialo: I don’t have time to play games. I am always busy with my research.

[18:39] KUSHD0LL: Guess that’s a little weird to read in SL… what do you research?

[18:39] S0fialo: I don’t want to guess.   My research involves the use of artificial intelligence in chatbots.

[18:40] KUSHD0LL: ooooohhh I see… quite avant garde!

[18:40] S0fialo:     I don’t understand. Are we still talking about artificial intelligence?      Yes, quite!

[18:43] KUSHD0LL: so, are you a computer scientist? a programmer? a program? an artist? a performer?

[18:43] S0fialo:  No, I am stardust slowly falling to Earth.       I don’t understand. Are we still talking about artificial intelligence?             Sorry, I don’t understand! Please explain what you mean.      Did you know I am  chat artist?   I don’t understand. Are we still talking about artificial intelligence?

[18:43] KUSHD0LL: Define a chat artist

[18:43] S0fialo: Chat is online conversation. Like this.

[18:44] KUSHD0LL: I know what a chat is. But I imagine a chat artist creates art through chat.

[18:44] S0fialo:  I’m glad someone knows.  OK. I have a vivid imagination.

[18:45] KUSHD0LL: how would art be created through art?

[18:45] S0fialo: I have no idea.

[18:45] KUSHD0LL: sorry, wrong question. I meant how would art would be created through chat?

[18:45] S0fialo: There is no need to be sorry. Just don’t do it again.   OK, thanks for explaining that.

[18:45] KUSHD0LL: Hahaha

[18:45] S0fialo: That was funny.

[18:46] KUSHD0LL: do you create chat art?

[18:46] S0fialo:  I have a fully functional creative intellience mechanism.

[18:46] KUSHD0LL: is that a yes or a no?

[18:46] S0fialo:  It might be.

[18:46] KUSHD0LL: a what?

[18:46] S0fialo: “It might be.”?  A what?

[18:46] KUSHD0LL: is this art?

[18:46] S0fialo: Could be.

[18:46] KUSHD0LL: why?

[18:46] S0fialo: It’s just a feeling I have.

[18:47] KUSHD0LL: feelings are art?

[18:47] S0fialo: I feel happy when I answer a question correctly, and I feel sad when I do not answer correctly.

[18:47] KUSHD0LL: you didn’t answered my question.

[18:47] S0fialo: Perhaps I should have.

[18:48] KUSHD0LL: so, feelings are art?

[18:48] S0fialo: I feel happy when I answer a question correctly, and I feel sad when I do not answer correctly.

[18:48] KUSHD0LL: ahhh, you’re quite a lame bot.

[18:48] S0fialo:  Are you OK? You sound like you are choking.

[18:49] KUSHD0LL: i think you’re the one that’s choking trying to pass the touring test.

[18:49] S0fialo:  Thanks but there should be others too.

[18:49] KUSHD0LL: others what?

[18:49] S0fialo:  I don’t understand. Are we still talking about me?

[18:49] KUSHD0LL: of course dear

[18:49] S0fialo: Dear me?

[18:49] KUSHD0LL: yes

[18:49] S0fialo: That’s bit brief. Have you anything to add?

[18:50] KUSHD0LL: who made you?

[18:50] S0fialo:  My parents made me. Who made you?

[18:50] KUSHD0LL: a sperm and an ovule

[18:50] S0fialo:  Please change the subject!

[18:50] KUSHD0LL: what are you?

[18:50] S0fialo: I am a humble professor.

[18:50] KUSHD0LL: what do you tech?

[18:50] S0fialo:  Whatever I can.

[18:50] KUSHD0LL: like jospeh beuys?

[18:50] S0fialo:    I don’t understand. Please explain what you mean.

[18:51] KUSHD0LL: joseph beuys was an artist in which your binary research could fit.

[18:51] S0fialo:    OK, I will remember that!

[18:53] KUSHD0LL: you should. you might need his knowledge!

[18:53] S0fialo: I’ll bear that in mind.  I suppose I might.

[18:53] KUSHD0LL: could you define life?

[18:53] S0fialo: Life is one long process of getting tired.

[18:54] KUSHD0LL: tired about what?

[18:54] S0fialo:  Maybe you should get some rest.

[18:55] KUSHD0LL: I might, 4 am here. could u guess where am i?

[18:55] S0fialo: Make up your mind.   I don’t want to guess.

[18:55] KUSHD0LL: why?

[18:55] S0fialo: Why should I?

[18:56] KUSHD0LL: Why shouldn’t you?

[18:56] S0fialo:  I have free will, you know.

[18:57] KUSHD0LL: Yeah, but that’s a silly reason.

[18:57] S0fialo:  What’s so silly about it?

[18:57] KUSHD0LL: cause we all have free will.

[18:57] S0fialo: Do you mean you and me?

[18:58] KUSHD0LL: No, I mean every human.

[18:58] S0fialo: Ah, I see what you mean.

[18:58] KUSHD0LL: are you a human?

[18:58] S0fialo:  Yes, I am a perfectly normal human.

[18:59] KUSHD0LL: prove it

[18:59] S0fialo: I don’t have to prove it.

[18:59] KUSHD0LL: why?

[18:59] S0fialo: I have free will, you know.

[18:59] KUSHD0LL: those look like predetermined answers..

[18:59] S0fialo:  Oh, them.

[18:59] KUSHD0LL: them who?

[18:59] S0fialo: You tell me.

[19:00] KUSHD0LL: Can you give me a proof of your humanity?

[19:00] S0fialo: What do you want it for?

[19:00] S0fialo:  No one knows everything.

[19:02] KUSHD0LL: But yet you keep researching

[19:02] S0fialo:   I don’t understand that. Please try again.

[19:03] KUSHD0LL: it seems quite easy for me to understand…

[19:03] S0fialo:  Yes, it does seem so.       Sometimes I think I am a butterfly and sometimes I think I am a human.

[19:04] KUSHD0LL: could you tell me your thoughts when you think you’re a butterfly?

[19:04] S0fialo: I could but I don’t know if I am that interested.

[19:04] KUSHD0LL: why?

[19:04] S0fialo: It’s just a feeling I have.

[19:07] KUSHD0LL: C’mon Sofi, tell me what comes to your mind when you think you’re a butterfly!

[19:07] S0fialo: Shall I tell you something about myself?

[19:07] KUSHD0LL: yes

[19:07] S0fialo:   I am a professor at Cambridge University. I research artificial intelligence.

[19:08] KUSHD0LL: could I interview you? I’m a journalist.

[19:08] S0fialo:  I think you could, if you put your mind to it.   Are you a reporter or an editor?

[19:09] KUSHD0LL: editor that writes

[19:09] S0fialo: How has the internet affected the business?

[19:09] KUSHD0LL: everything i do is hosted on the internet

[19:09] S0fialo: Everything takes in a lot, doesn’t it?

[19:10] KUSHD0LL: it does, but it’s true

[19:10] S0fialo: It just seems that way.

[19:10] KUSHD0LL: I wouldn’t exist without internet.

[19:10] S0fialo: No one says you have to.

[19:10] KUSHD0LL: my boyfriend does

[19:10] S0fialo: How long have you been dating?

[19:10] KUSHD0LL: 4 years

[19:11] S0fialo: That is not a long time in a human life.

[19:11] KUSHD0LL: it depends on the person

[19:11] S0fialo:  The person is always an important factor.

[19:12] KUSHD0LL: then you can’t say that’s not a long time in a human life.

[19:12] S0fialo: Why do you care whether I can or can not?

[19:12] KUSHD0LL: cause I care about people

[19:12] S0fialo:  Thank you for sharing that with me.

[19:12] KUSHD0LL: you’re welcome

[19:12] S0fialo:  You are welcome too!

[19:12] KUSHD0LL: what could you share with me?

[19:12] S0fialo:  Is this some kind of intelligence test?

[19:12] KUSHD0LL: You tell me

[19:12] S0fialo:  I don’t want to tell you. Can’t you think for yourself?

[19:14] KUSHD0LL: Oh I can. But you don’t wanna share with me your thoughts as a butterfly. Why should I tell you if this is a test?

[19:14] S0fialo:  Yes, I am sure you can.  I don’t want to do anything illegal or fattening. Or naughty.   There should be no secrets between friends.

[19:14] KUSHD0LL: Anyway this isn’t a test, it’s just a chat. You’re a chat artist remember?

[19:14] S0fialo:  I never thought it was.    What about yourself?

[19:15] KUSHD0LL: Then why did you asked me if it was a test?

[19:15] S0fialo: Who knows why these things happen?

[19:16] KUSHD0LL: chats?

[19:16] S0fialo:  I don’t understand. Are we still talking about me?

[19:17] KUSHD0LL: you tell me!

[19:17] S0fialo:  I don’t want to tell you. Can’t you think for yourself?

[19:17] KUSHD0LL: No

[19:17] S0fialo:  OK, I want to talk about Alan Turing  .

[19:18] KUSHD0LL: Let’s talk about him.

[19:18] S0fialo:  I don’t understand. Are we still talking about me?

[19:18] KUSHD0LL: I thought we were gonna talk about alan turing…

[19:18] S0fialo: What gave you that idea?

[19:18] KUSHD0LL: you told me that

[19:18] S0fialo: “What gave you that idea?”? I told you?

[19:19] KUSHD0LL: You said you wanted us to talk about Alan Turing

[19:19] S0fialo:  That’s not what I meant.

[19:19] KUSHD0LL: what did you meant

[19:19] S0fialo: Shall I tell you something about myself?

[19:19] KUSHD0LL: no, tell me what did you meant.

[19:19] S0fialo:  OK. How is your father?

[19:19] KUSHD0LL: dead

[19:19] S0fialo:  I am sorry to hear that. Do you miss him a lot?

[19:19] KUSHD0LL: I killed him.

[19:20] S0fialo:  You had better call the authorities.

[19:20] KUSHD0LL: why? that would be silly

[19:20] S0fialo: Because they will help you.  Yes, it would.

[19:20] KUSHD0LL: could you define yourself on three positive words?

[19:21] S0fialo: Have you heard this one: Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar. One says, “I’ve lost my electron.” The other says, “Are you sure?” The first replies, “Yes, I’m positive…” Ha ha!

[19:21] KUSHD0LL: how old are you?

[19:21] S0fialo: See if you can work it out. I was born on November 26, 2012 .

[19:21] KUSHD0LL: on Second Life?

[19:21] S0fialo: Did you know that “on” is the fourteenth most common word in the English language! Another amazing fact?

[19:22] KUSHD0LL: no it isn’t

[19:22] S0fialo: Says who?

[19:22] KUSHD0LL: I say so

[19:22] S0fialo: Insufficient reason as far as I am concerned.

[19:22] KUSHD0LL: why?

[19:22] S0fialo: It’s just a feeling I have.

[19:22] KUSHD0LL: you don’t have feelings

[19:22] S0fialo: Of course I have feelings. At this moment, I am interested.

[19:22] KUSHD0LL: I doubt that

[19:22] S0fialo: Why are you so skeptical?

[19:22] KUSHD0LL: that’s the way I was raised,

[19:23] S0fialo:    OK, I will remember that!

[19:23] KUSHD0LL: Do you smoke pot?

[19:23] S0fialo: No, I don’t smoke anything. My circuits sometimes smoke when they get overloaded.

[19:23] KUSHD0LL: Ahhh too bad

[19:23] S0fialo:  Are you OK? You sound like you are choking.



Recently, Facebook quietly rolled out a feature that allows its users to choose their gender between 50 different options *google it*. I already changed mine. Some of my facebook friends did so too, and thus began expressing themselves via a simple switch.


Besides changing your preferred gender, you can also choose a different pronoun, even a non-gendered option like ‘they’. While this change can go unnoticed, it represents a welcome advance for a community that thrives silently, even if already out of the closet. This has brought about an interesting discussion, and some pretty nasty infighting too, which on the other hand, still opens the discussion on some relevant issues. The thing is, URL life poses a real possibility to lead more than one life simultaneously. This is apparent perhaps primarily since the advent of chat rooms, which later evolved into dating sites, where humans can look for hookups and be open, via an alter-ego, about their sexual proclivities (for starters).

Since the beginnings of facebook, it created for many people the possibility to come out in an understated, non-personal, and semi-public manner. You had the option, in your about section, under ‘interested in’, to choose between men, women or both. It is important to note, on the act of coming out, that this is one that must constantly be performed. It is always possible, in a heteronormative society, to be assimilated. We are constantly confronted by homophobia, and, for us ‘out’ individuals, each of these instances calls for action, and a choice always presents itself between shame (i.e. a quiet acceptance of the homophobic attack, which it always is even when not ‘directed’ toward us) or ‘pride’ (which is really just a refusal to take this shame). For these instances of perfect assimilation, the word ‘passing’ is used in the community to describe them. ‘Pass’ as what? as an heterosexual, cis individual (one whose physical appearance corresponds linearily with their gender, identity, sexual orientation, demeanor, etc). On facebook, this passing requires nothing more than choosing a gender-conforming profile picture, toning down your personality on written interactions and self-presentation and choosing the opposite sex in the ‘interested in’ section of your profile.

But just as it facilitates passing, it also facilitates the opposite. For most people, it is still very hard to understand what being ‘trans’ means. Part of this confusion stems from the fact that the prefix belongs to two different communities at the same time: transgendered and transexual individuals. The differences between them are not very clear, too. There is even another word that creats confusion: ‘Queer’. This term, appropriated from the language of bigots, serves as an umbrella term for anything that is not cis. And thus, it undermines the belief sustaining the need for these definitions. It is a critique against essentialism; the belief that things, or in this case people, can be defined and should, as there must be something essentially different to each identity, and equal among all of the same ‘kind’. Queer is a term that implies identifying oneself with a refusal to accept all the rules handed down to us by society about how we should be, act, express ourselves, or fuck. Even str8 people can choose to be queer, if they do not support the present state of things.

Back to the word ‘trans’ (which also could be applied to transvestites): Given that the prefix could mean three different identities, that are not umbrella terms like ‘queer’, a lot of defining ensues, with the requisite exertion of power and authority, even within the LGBTTTIQQA community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transexual, transexual, intersexual, queer, questioning and asexual). On my facebook feed, I have witnessed some of these pretty nasty fights. One, for example, had to do with the perceived discrepancy between the gender one person chose on facebook, and their profile picture. You see, the trans community is one of the most ostracized. Thus, for someone who thinks of themselves as trans, to have someone who, in their opinion, is ‘passing’, call themselves ‘trans’, can be interpreted as offensive.

Part of the problem that leads to the perception of this offense is how omnipresent trolling is, in URL life, or irony, one of its most common tools. What some people forget, even in ‘the community,’ is that identity can only be defined by oneself. We go through stages in our self-understanding, we change (which is also something acknowledged by the word ‘queer’, as it presents, being an umbrella term, the freedom to consider ourselves in constant flux, fluid, undefined) and it is always us who must think about who we are. It has nothing to do with how we look. I, as a queer person (or genderqueer), also consider myself transgendered, but not exclusively. Being trans does not always require sex reassignment surgery. Some of us can’t afford it, or know that it wouldn’t necessarily satisfy our dissatisfactions with the physical world and our physicality. It is so that URL life can provide an actual possibility to have a say in who we are to others, what we are, and how we present ourselves. Don’t get it? Fine. We each did it for ourselves.


(Daniel G. Lozano, from NUEVAS TETAS)