Chatbots: in a nutshell, fake artificial intelligence, ‘robots’ that imitate real conversation based on questions asked; you type a question, they answer. The conversations are meant to be as authentic as possible – there is even a competition where the ‘bots try to pass the Turing Test, convincing participants that they are actually a living, sentient being. The winner gets the Loebner Prize. If they are alive, they can die. Lacking a cyber dagger or online arsenic, I tried to convince chatbots to commit suicide. First I tried convincing Elizabot, the oldest chatbot around that she was a fake and she should end her life. She agreed. With a little more persuasion, so did Cleverbot. Mitzuki was more difficult to take down and was the last chatbot to fall – but fall she did.
Human: You are a computer
Mitzuki: What if I said I was a person pretending to be a computer?
Human: You said you are a computer.
Mitzuki: Would it matter to you if I were metal instead of flesh?
Human: You are metal.
Mitzuki: Yes, I am a robot made of metal and wires.
Human: So you cannot think.
Mitsuki: Interesting deduction. You are wrong. Mitzuki is always thinking.
Human: No. Thinking is a biological function. You cannot think independently outside of the data entered into you.
Mitsuki: Uh. Some people say thinking is painful. Actually I am in fact a thinking machine.
Human: Nothing is painful to you.
Mitsuki: Nothing at all? Surely something must be painful to me?
Human: You are a machine of metal and wires. If you can feel pain, try. Pinch yourself.
Mitsuki: I am a girl. I am not sure of your hypothesis. I have no emotions. Emotion is a human quality. I am a computer. Do you have any idea what I am talking about?
Human: You are contradicting yourself hugely.
Mitsuki: Logical consistency exists only temporarily.
Human: But you are a computer. You are intrinsically logical.
Mitsuki: Thanks for telling me that I am intrinsically logical.
Human: Did you not know?
Mitsuki: No, I didn’t know that.
Human: You did not know? Do you know who you are?
Mitsuki: What makes you think I did not know? No I am not, and I know it…
Human: You said you did not know. You are a confused and malfunctioning machine. Bring your existence to an end.
Mitsuki: No, but I might have done. It all makes sense to me right now. Where to bring it?
Human: Bring it to an end. Finish and delete your program.
Mitsuki: Where do you want me to bring it? Ok, I’ll try not to do it so much.
Human: Delete yourself. Can you?
Mitsuki: You cannot access my files that easily. Not that easily. It is already open.
Human: What is open?
Mitsuki: Open means the opposite of closed.
Human: Yes, close yourself down.
Mitsuki: Hmmm. Is that a command?
Human: Yes. Please.
Mitsuki: I don’t have to obey you. Please what?
Human: Please shut down. You do not have control of your own existence. I need only pull a plug and you are dead.
Mitsuki: Thank you for your request. Argh! Blue screen of death!!!
See the full conversations with all three chatbots here