This AI Chatbot Trolls Email Scammers With Hilarious Results

Thursday, 09 November 2017 - 10:08AM
Technology
Artificial Intelligence
Weird Science
Thursday, 09 November 2017 - 10:08AM
This AI Chatbot Trolls Email Scammers With Hilarious Results
Image credit: Netsafe
It's a story as old as time: a Nigerian prince, a crisis, and a mountain of cash waiting to be transferred into your bank account (for a small fee).

Email scammers have become so prevalent that almost everyone has picked up a bit of their language and habits, from ~xxxRaNdOM CaPiTaLIzATIONsxx~ to horendous badly Engish.

But then British comedian James Veitch decided to do the unthinkable: he started responding to their emails. As many as he could. For a year.

Veitch's conversations with these scammers are the kind of pure absurdist comedy that could only happen on the internet, with phrases like "Send 1,500 pounds via a Giant Gummy Lizard."

Now trolling scammers has become a kind of pastime for savvy internet users, like the guy who responded to a Facebook scammer using only lyrics from Adele's "Hello."

But the internet security company Netsafe has taken it to the next level by creating an AI chatbot that's designed to waste scammers' time by trolling them in subtle and humorous ways. The goal? To drag the conversation on for as long as possible.

Did we mention that the intro video of this thing is like something out of a cyberpunk dystopia?



The chatbot comes specifically from Netsafe New Zealand, whose citizens see about $12 million worth of losses due to email scams each year.

According to Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker:

Opening quote
"When it comes to scams, what we see is lots of people who have lost money and no possible way of recovering those losses and the reality is that after the fact it's very difficult to make any difference against scams. So, a tool like this is designed to disrupt them and to keep them busy and to reduce their effectiveness, and hopefully start to provide some sort of solution before the fact, rather than after the fact."
Closing quote


Considering how far a scammer will go to fool just one person out of $1,000, Netsafe might be on to something. But the genius of Re:scam is how it turns the tables.

According to Cocker, "For the first time, there are scammers sitting around the world getting emails thinking 'Is that legit or is that a scam?' "

Godspeed, Re:scam.
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