• Rohan Mukherjee

Should you ever send nudes to your chatbot?

Updated: Jul 12, 2019

It might a harmless release of your primal instinct. But is it?

think, if a bot could see you naked when privacy is a gamble, would you still take it?

If you clicked on a link titled, ‘should you ever send nudes to your chatbot’, we’re assuming not everything is going great with you. In that case may we suggest a revolutionary new app called SnapChat? Oops, too late! A recent data report compiled by the popular analytics platform Dashbot unveiled that about 2.5% of the images that people sent to chatbots, are essentially, nudes.

Now, we know what you’re thinking - “People get lonely, And it’s better to spend time being naughty with artificial intelligence than end up pestering people with your nudes in real life.” Well you’re right, to an extent - because messing with artificial intelligence is kinda real life. For those of you still unaware of this cyborg called Dashbot, wait a minute. Let’s introduce you to the concept of a chatbot. Something that sounds like AutoBot, but may behave like a Decepticon. Yes, it could Transform your reality. (Okay, that’s the end of our Transformer puns!) So, a chatbot is an internet bot or a code written by a bunch of geniuses, and this code responds to you like any person or your friend would on a social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. Cool?

Now, Dashbot is an analytics platform that is used by some of the top brands in the world. with Grubhub, Conde Nast, Aol, and Poncho being some of them. According to the report, which was a collection of about 1,200 chatbots and over 200 million messages, the people who send nudes to chatbots are more likely to be repeat offenders. In some cases, over a hundred times. Yes! Some people sent a hundred nudes (mostly d*ck pics we’re assuming) of themselves to a line of code written by a programmer. We’ll assume that Tinder was down for a while.

Once upon a time, in a land called Privacy

Well, there’s one thing we should understand here, that chatbots aren't people. And we don’t mean that in its most obvious sense - what we’re saying is that, what you send across to a friend might not remain confidential, even if you had confidence in that friend. As per International Data Group, ‘unstructured data is growing at a rate of 62 percent per year. When coupled with increased use of analytics, companies are finding new ways to maximize insights for things such as employee hiring and engagement, customer experience and product development and delivery. In fact, organizations want to find cheaper, faster and better ways for those insights to be delivered where they’re needed most.’ That’s it then right? Your chatbot, just like other bots are inhuman call centre personnel - they take in your information, to bug you with spammy content on a regular basis. Yup, each little exchange of information (with what seems like pretty much anything online these days), gives off a tasty piece of data/information to the collector of data.

But, often your buddies will say, “I understand all of this, I don’t care if my nudes are being accessed by random people, I’m cool with it. I’m not Hugh Jackman. Neither do I have an anatomy worth leaking.” This is where another part of the Dashbot’s survey gives us a little more insight. To quote from the report directly:

“It turns out both men and women send NSFW images to bots, including naked selfies, however it’s predominantly men — about 90 percent of the NSFW images come from men.”

Men will be men, data breach will be data breach?

Now that we know that it is primarily men who send nudes to chatbots, and we’re assuming most of them know that their pictures are accessible by people who can exploit them. The question which arises next is, has technology managed to penetrate our lives so deeply, that we rely on it in times of boredom, loneliness, and are also ready to be exploited by it to our core? Well, today it’s even easier for people to share NSFW pictures with each other, some say it spices up your life, some say it’s the millennial version of casual flirtation. So isn’t sending nudes to chatbots just a logical extension of these human traits? Does it even surprise you that it’s a thing, honestly? With widening gaps between interpersonal relationships, and rapid innovations in tech entertainment - this is just the natural progression. The interesting fact is that men use bots more often than women do, but, women tend to talk for longer periods to the bots than men do. Apparently, women are also slightly more likely to tell a bot ‘I love you.’ Last year, a smartphone device named Kissenger went viral, a plug in accessory that lets you send kiss sensations to the other person as easily as a text. It’s a real thing.

Is there a larger issue at play here?

British A.I. expert David Levy has long believed that humans have the capacity and inclination to form strong attachments to technology. In his book Love and Sex with Robots, Levy cites a study which showed a significant number of AIBO (Sony’s robotic dog) owners attributed real feelings and intentional behaviors to their robotic pets. “People actually want to perceive their AIBOs as real pets and therefore they attribute doglike emotions to the AIBO,” Levy writes. In other words if you want to believe you’re having mutual sexy chat with your virtual assistant, it’s only a small step away from you feeling genuinely aroused.

According to Ilya Eckstein, the chief executive of Robin Labs, the men who do this apparently "want to dream about a subservient girlfriend, or even a sexual slave," whose virtual assistant (also called Robin) is used by some men for as many as 300 conversations each day. There remains a worrying desire for some men to sexually harass women - human or bot - and these sentiments beg the question of sexual equality. The lines between virtual life and real life are becoming increasingly blurred, and it’s potentially more detrimental than a breach of data.



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