In Spike Jonze's critically acclaimed movie "Her," Joaquin Phoenix's character Theodore falls in love with an operating-system-slash-chatbot called Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). The film highlights how artificial intelligence can impact our personal lives for better or for worse.
"Her" may be set in the near future but chatbots are already making a difference in living our current modern realities. In fact, one such chatbot is already fighting the good fight - by turning the tables on persistent scammers who are always hoping to hit that big payday via the most basic electronic communication around the email.
Read on and I'll tell you about this chatbot that might be humanity's latest bet against the scourge of Nigerian princes and "you won the lottery" email scams.
Re:scam: your friendly anti-email scam chatbot
A new email chatbot called Re:scam is joining the fight against email scammers by thoroughly wasting the scammer's time with amazingly human-like replies. Operated by cybersecurity firm Netsafe, Re:scam lets you forward all your shady emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and an automated chatbot will start replying to the scammer on your behalf using a proxy email address.
The Re:scam chatbot will then try its best to waste the scammer's time with unnecessary long and open-ended replies, often with hilarious results. With delicate sentences and an inquiring tone, the chatbot keeps the scammer's hopes alive.
Check out the email exchange below for a great example of how Re:scam works.
You'd notice that the Re:scam chatbot can reply convincingly human-like, making this tool quite an effective way to annoy email scammers. Although using chatbots to fight email fraudsters is nothing new, Re:scam's pre-programmed conversational masquerade is one of the fresher ways to combat the growing problem.
Since Re:scam uses canned email replies, cybercriminals will likely catch on sooner or later and use their own chatbots, too. Just imagine that - millions of white hat and black hat chatbots having never-ending virtual conversations about Nigerian wealth, lawyering up, and non-existent employment opportunities. Who knows? Like in "Her," these chatbots might learn how to fall in love.
Vigilante pulls perfect prank on phone scammers
It's not just email scammers that are upping their game, phone scammers are also on the rise. One tech vigilante has had enough of these phone scammers so he or she devised a way to fight off, or at least annoy them - winning the admiration of internet keyboard warriors around the globe. Click here to read more about this modern-day hero.