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According to a recent piece in the Guardian, Russian software developers recently unleashed a program called CyberLover, which roams chat rooms posing as flirtatious women, then duping users into giving them personal dataphone numbers, addresses, even sexy photos. But before you start administering human/non-human tests to all the girls who e-wink your way, remember that CyberLover has been operating in Russian chat rooms, not English ones, and its flirting skills have really only been confirmed by the claims of its already sketchy developers. Of course, its possible an invasion of devious, English-speaking sexbots using similar technology is just around the corner. Easy answer: dont give out personal info to seductive strangers.
Still, the idea that a computer program could fool even the most desperate lover in cyber bed makes an online sex enthusiast wonder: is some cybersex so predictable that it could be done by a robot?
Ill admit: some days I feel like a sexbot myself. Camping out for research in the AOL Big Flirt chat room, where online love is practiced 'Wam-bam-ty-mam!' style, its not hard to get cynical. After the third guy in an hour has asked Do you swallow? within moments of introducing himself, the repetitiveness of uninspired cybersex makes itself strangely clear. Descriptions of the same-sex acts with the same outcomes (First Id lick you, then Id fuck you, then Id cum all over your face) pop up on the screen again and again. A girl cant help but think: if cyberers are so uncreative, maybe theyd be happier with a machine.
Ive mentioned before my idea to make a list of generic sex responses and see how far I could get cybering with only those lines. That way, Id be chatting like a real computer program. I wouldnt be the first benevolent sexbot, though. In 2004, a bored hacker released a artificial intelligence program named Jenny18 onto the IRC community. Equipped with what her creator called a massive dumb blond script of over 3,800 lines, the Jenny18 sexbot was very horny and she loves talking to horny guys. But looking at Jenny18s transcripts, its easy to see she could never pass the Turing Test. She repeats answers too often and responds nonsensically. And that just isnt hot.
Still, inspired by my Russian brethren, I decided to head back into the AOL chat rooms and test out the idea myself. Armed with only 30 responses (see below), ranging from the harmless (Not much. Just horny) to the hardcore (Id love to take your cock deep in my throat), I stuck it out for ten conversations with ostensibly male counterparts whose screen names aloneHardCock, BigDick4Uwere enough to make me consider turning in my human skin and resigning myself to life as a computer. Each of the conversations lasted at least half an hour. Most got pretty down and dirty into the cybersex actthough some guys got excited, orgasmed early, and disappeared half way through. Classy.
Unsurprisingly, I found my lines worked 95% of the time. Mmm and Oh yeah came in handy often, as did Id like that and Im rubbing my pussy. No one asked me, Are you sure youre not a sexbot? In every conversation though, there was at least one moment when my lines just werent enough. One user asked me where in New York City I lived. Another asked me whether Id ever taken it up the ass and what specifically I liked about it. A third wanted to move the chat to webcam, and I had to explain multiple times why I wanted to stay putwithout sounding like a broken record.
At least theres still some reason to be humanhowever slim. Sure, bad cybersex may be discouragingrobotic evenbut that shouldnt depress us. Instead, it should show us how much better we can do. Were people; we have creativity. Why not use it in the cyber bedroom?
Click Me runs on villagevoice.com every Monday. Got a question about cybersex? Write to your friendly cyberhood sexpert Bonnie Ruberg to ask advice or share stories about sex and the internet: bonnie [at] heroine-sheik [dot] com.