This Chatbot Simulates Your Worst Tinder Conversations

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
For every Tinder success story, there seem to be 10 stories of utter horror — most frequently between women and deeply unpleasant men. What began as anecdotes swapped between female friends rapidly became a national conversation — an inside joke made openly. And now, we have technology (and design graduate students Joanna Chin and Bryan Collinsworth) to thank for taking the sad joke one step further. D.bot is a chatbot designed to talk like Afshin, 24, Miles, 23, or any other "winner" within a 10-mile radius.

Chin and Collinsworth designed d.bot to generate Tinder-esque greetings and responses culled from a variety of real-life sources, from popular Instagram account @tindernightmares to personal stories from friends. Why? The duo sought to explore chatbots and artificial intelligence (the project was originally an assignment for a Javascript class), and to share a social message about how men talk to women.

Anyone can submit a new offensive quote to d.bot's database; as of right now, it draws from 100 statements when generating a response. You can check out the chatbot here.

I tried d.bot for myself, and "too real" is the best way to sum up my experience. D.bot leads with his expectations, asking if I'm going to say hi. Then, he offers to explain things to me and asks what I'm wearing. Leaving d.bot's window open was a mistake. After a brief distraction, I got another message from him, asking if I was too busy pouting to answer him. Like I said, too real.

D.bot is unfortunate proof that there's a pretty clear script that some men follow when speaking to women online. From acting entitled to reminding me he "could be talking to any number of other women," d.bot did his darnedest to guilt-trip me into responding. This is probably one of the most common experiences among women on Tinder and other casual dating apps — feeling pressure to respond to men rather than risk seeming cold or rude.

One of the most realistic features of d.bot is the way he's programmed to choose a response at random if there isn't one in his database that naturally applies. You get a sense of something similar happening with Tinder's human users from time to time.

The decision to make douchebot d.bot as grating as possible was completely intentional. Mashable reports that Chin felt relief in adding comments lobbed her way during development. And with any luck, d.bot will facilitate more constructive conversations about how men and women interact online.
Whether you visit d.bot for a laugh or to put your own online interactions in perspective, we advise you to take frequent breaks, have a stress ball on hand, and, when the mood strikes, fling your computer against a wall.*

*Don't actually do that last one.
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