The Underwear Law — A Godwin’s Law for chat bots.

When ever a debate spurs online we can be sure that somewhere somehow someone will call someone a Nazi if the conversation goes on long enough.

It’s called Godwin’s Law.

When it comes to chat bots the same can be said about sex jokes, innuendos, and flirtation.

I have dubbed it “The underwear law”.

During most of my chat bot experimentation I’ve noted that people tend to ask the bot about its underwear quite early in the conversation.

Many, if not all do it for gags. They might be demoing the bot, doing it as a party trick or entertaining themselves with it. Some take it further, become more vulgar, while others stay on the innocent side of things.

But they all start with that simple line; “What are you wearing?”

I created Botflit.com in order to see how far people can and will take it, because it is such a natural part of a chat bot’s existence, and “what are you wearing” is one of the central questions when people interact with the bot. Even bots people shorty communicate with too book flights, tables at restaurants or in health care tend to attract jokers. Specially those who think they are completely anonymous.

To investigate just HOW chat bots today deal with The Underwear Law I initiated a small test where I asked the most well known and used bots the question. This is how they answered!

Cleverbot

Most of these chat bots have existed for 5+ years (some have existed for 20+ years) so they are pro’s at answering this question and steering you back to less adult themed conversations.

What about customer and service bots?

How do newer, customer and service bots do? I chose the platform FEEBI to and their restaurant business customers to see how their bots respond. Some customers did better than others.

Recommendations for your organisation?

Take the Underwear Law to heart. Inside we’re all a childish teenager (some more openly than others) who, at some point, somewhere will interact inappropriately with your bot.

Make sure to account for the Underwear Law. You don’t have to encourage perverted minds to have a steamy conversation with your customer and service bot, but rather take the lesson from e.g. 20+ year of experience of Cleverbot — Tell them off, or Evie and Mitsuka, tell them what you are wearing. Do something fun with it.

Never waste a good prank that can come to your PR advantage.

I’m like an open book. Full of numbers.

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