Long before I was Fusion’s “bot reporter,” I was playing around with 90’s IRC bots, like Eggdrop, and trying to get them to do funny things in channels where I was an op (the IRC version of a channel moderator).It seemed like a fitting tribute to that era of my life to recreate it in bot form.The computer that holds the chat logs from my teenage years had not been turned on in more than a decade, and probably wouldn’t boot up even if I tried.
I didn’t have a lot of friends and there’s a lot of stuff I couldn’t say to my parents, so I told my chat friends.The internet felt like a secret world I could divulge secrets or make confessions to and not have to deal with blowback or consequences.If you’re not familiar with Markov chains, you can read more here.The short version is the bot would mix and mash together my chat logs into new sentences.I was a sophomore in high school during the 2000 election, and I had Opinions. If you want to have a conversation with teen me, you can do so in the window below.
They were about as valuable as any high school sophomore’s opinions, which is to say they had next-to-no value, and are best left unsaid. Just type where it says “Enter text here,” hit enter, and wait.
The code took a while, but I finally cobbled together a bot and prepared to face a younger version of myself that had never faced the challenges of my 20s. Which was true, and probably comes from a time I was complaining about one of my two sisters, both of whom were very into ★NSYNC around then.
This Patrick had not lived in New Mexico and Iowa, had never tried sushi, and had no idea what Facebook and Twitter were. I would spend a lot of time on IRC complaining about things I couldn’t complain about IRL.
If I say anything embarrassing or incriminating, just think back to the stuff you posted online when you were 16 before you throw the first stone.
Microsoft’s first attempt at a chatbot that learns from conversations on the Internet was a total disaster.
While Zo will not express views on mainstream political topics or utter hate speech against particular groups, she is still very receptive to extreme right wing political influence.