Ghostbot for Burner

A smart bot that handles your unwanted texts

This is the first bot-as-personal-firewall I've seen, but extends on the concept of EstherBot and others. Super cool!
@chrismessina The concept of bots-as-agents for you is exciting, and a blend of human and machine responses is a particular twist on that that we think is interesting.
@chrismessina It would be interesting to see this bot talking to itself on both sides ;)
I would love to see a bot that follows up on all your Tinder contacts until you get a positive response. Then maybe these bots can have a passive aggressive conversation that never ends.
This is great for reinforcing/enabling passive aggressive behavior. "Ghostbot is a fun, witty auto-responder", "Ghostbot will take over for you when you no longer want to deal with someone", "ghost away from fleeting relationships — without the emotional baggage" Wow. "don't want to inflame the situation" I can see this doing just that. Actually I can see this bot making it much worse by taking it to another level that would not have existed in traditional ghosting. Bots today have a hard enough time keeping a simple conversation around the weather let alone something like.
@tommyent fair point. One thing we explicitly are doing with the responses is delaying them to try and skirt some of the issues around the bot keeping up a coherent real time conversation. The owner of the phone number can also intervene at any point, as the conversation the bot is having with the ghosted contact is visible. These are all good points though, we've tried to be considered in our design with the the understanding that part of the point was to be a little provocative and tease out some of the implications of having a bot act on your behalf.
If anyone is interested in working on projects like this in collaboration with us to inject agents and apps into consumer phone numbers, we'd love to talk to you! (Also we have a pretty cool custom ghostbot emoji for our internal Slack team.)
I wanted to rewrite my comment now that I've taken some time to reflect. I don't think that this product makes the world better; I don't even think it addresses the real problem (i.e., the tendency for people to behave abusively via text). I do think, however, that this product capitalizes on a social cause in a way that is virtually guaranteed to be controversial (and therefore generate interest and press). I'd take this product more seriously if it did something demonstrably beneficial. Such as: 1. Alerting the other party of a definitive lack of interest and desire to cease communication. 2. Immediately disallowing future contact. 3. Providing a means for contacting law enforcement should the abuse continue or escalate. At present, this product does none of these things. In fact, as another commenter rightly points out, Ghostbot may actually serve to instigate the abuser. Despite the creators' claims, this is not a compassionate piece of software. If anything, it enables a more subtle kind of bullying; it is intrinsically manipulative and dishonest. Perhaps the creators' hearts were in the right place. Unfortunately, in my view, the product is not.
@theevilgeek although Ghostbot was made in a gender-neutral way and is available to anyone who wants to use it, we are open about the fact that we made it with women in mind. why? because women are on the receiving end of sexual harassment and abuse at alarming levels -- some studies saying as many as 1 in 3 women -- and because the culture around texting seems to embolden men to behave badly. Ghostbot wouldn't need to exist if some men didn't behave like total monsters in response to texts like "I'm not interested in you, please stop contacting me". please take a look at @byefelipe and @feminist_tinder on instagram if you need to see this with your own eyes to believe it. So, women are in a situation where they're risking making some dude mad by not texting, or encouraging him by texting politely, or generating enflamed responses like the ones you see in those communities by politely turning him down. It's a no-win. So we helped create a tool for them to handle and take charge of situations like this. It's another option in the toolbox, and we hope it will help people in situations where they need an escape route.
@gregcohn Can you please share those studies? It would also be illuminating if those studies attempted to quantify how often men are exposed to similar or analogous harassment. FWIW, if I were on the receiving end of a Ghostbot, I'd consider that harassment.
@theevilgeek You keep using that word harassment. I do not think it means what you think it means. But here are some reputable sources of statistics for anyone who isn't sufficiently convinced that harassment and abuse of women are a significant problem in our society: - - - -