There are a few universal truths in online dating: most photos are carefully staged, most profiles are slightly puffed-up, and most people on them (and this is clearly fast-changing) are actually human.
Until some unlucky Tinder users spotted Ava.
A company promoting the movie Ex Machina created a fake account, Ava, with a photo of the star of the movie. Ava is an AI in the film and presumably she wants to get down. Unsuspecting men and women swiped to make a match and Ava, in a cross between cheesy AI and Eliza, asked a few pertinent questions including “Have you ever been in love?” and “What makes you human?” Normal users assumed they were talking to a human but they were actually talking to a bot. In the end, like the chatbots that now linger on near dead chat systems like AIM, Ava sent her suitors to an Instagram page where they found out that she was all a sham.
“It was done tied to the premiere of the film and only up for a short time,” wrote a source with knowledge of campaign. “Some people who matched with Ava won prizes including tickets to the premiere.”
“The profile is now gone.”
Sure this sexxxy Turing Test seems harmless but the presupposition that the person on the other end of the Tinder line is a human is pretty basic to the entire mission. The instant that you start sending party bots into the mess of erotic gumbo that is online dating is the instant that these tools become far less useful to real humans. After all, robots don’t snuggle – yet. Even if they’re really, really pretty.