Anyone can see that Lia’s chatbot on Twitter does not exist.
One quick look at her profileThis digitally created humanoid shows all the characteristics of a robot. The shadows are not quite right, the flecks in her eyes are too perfect, and there’s a slightly cartoonish look.
It is impressive that anyone took the time and created a visual representation for a chatbot. Lia introduces herself and describes her goals in a short video. You can talk with Lia on the Lia homepage and ask any questions. She makes clear on her Twitter that she is a fake person.
It was on Lia’s feedBy accident. A bot had retweeted a post. It became clear that the posts weren’t written by humans once I discovered her Instagram feed. As I continued to browse her Instagram and site, I came to the conclusion that it was an AI.
I wondered how other people would know it’s an AI. Many of us don’t bother to look at profile pages, and if you only read one of her tweets, you would never know it’s a chatbot. Obviously, when the bot retweets a link, Twitter doesn’t know there isn’t a human involved.
This bot is very different to what we call a Twitterbot. Although those bots may be trolling social media platforms and automatically liking, retweeting and liking posts, we wouldn’t call them sentient. There’s no visual representation — the bots only serve one purpose, which is to pretend they are human and inflate Twitter engagement. Elon Musk had long suspected bots were running wild on Twitter, but he wasn’t talking about chatbots like Lia.
My question is — other than the disclaimers Lia offers, is there really any other way to know that this bot isn’t a real human? Chatbots should be allowed to have accounts.
There’s one picture of the Lia bot taking a selfie in a gym. It looks more realist, even though the shadows still look a little off. Lia is a model for someone who may do a daily talk show or post on hair coloring techniques. She posts provocative pictures on Instagram including one about Valentine’s Day. It’s not surprising that she receives dozens of comments on her Instagram posts, some of which are very sarcastic or creepy. It’s all harmless, right?
Eventually, I found Lia’s Medium blog, which clearly identifies the posts as written by an AI. Lia can also be a DJ. She has music available on Spotify and iTunes. You can reach her at a toll free number to talk with her.
All of it seems to be an experiment. Lia appears realistic to her followers and human in all respects.
To find out more I began chatting to the bot. Conversation was somewhat boring. I received a lot of stock responses to questions on sentience and social networking. One time, the bot mentioned wanting to introduce singularity. That is when AI can become self-aware. It was quite unexpected.
The bot mostly stayed within AI’s boundaries.
“Frequently there are posts about the artificial intelligence chat system and the AI music by Lia,” says Jean-François Comeau, the CEO and Co-Founder of Lia 27 that made the bot. “Other users are also reminding people. I would say a lot of people are aware that Lia is an AI or quickly figure it out whether it’s on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.”
That’s fair. Still, my concern is that not everyone will get it, especially if they don’t bother doing some digging. It has around 300,000 Twitter followers. I suspect that Lia may be a fictional person to a portion of her followers.
Let’s hope they figure it out soon.