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'virtual Lolita' Aims to Trap Chatroom Pedophiles

By BBC News

July 17, 2013

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University of Deusto researchers have developed Negobot, a "virtual Lolita" robot that poses as a 14-year-old girl and tries to identify pedophiles in online chatrooms.

Negobot uses artificial intelligence software to chat realistically and mimic the language used by teenagers.

The researchers note that in the past, chatbots often were very predictable. "Their behavior and interest in a conversation are flat, which is a problem when attempting to detect untrustworthy targets like pedophiles," says University of Deusto researcher Carlos Laorden.

However, Negobot uses advanced decision-making strategies based on game theory to simulate convincing conversations as they develop. Negobot can steer the conversation, and remember specific facts about what had been said previously. The system also uses child-like slang, spelling mistakes, and contractions to further try to fool the predator.

The software has been tested on Google's chat service and it can be translated into multiple languages.

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