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Stupid computer! Abuse and social identities, September 12th, 2005

This paper presents a preliminary analysis of verbal abuse in spontaneous human-chatterbot conversations. An ethnographic study suggested that abuse is pervasive and may reflect an asymmetrical power distribution, where the user is the master, and the chatterbot the slave. We propose that verbal aggression in this setting may be a social norm applied by users to differentiate themselves from the machine in what can be regarded as a form of interspecies conflict. The findings stress the importance of naturalistic, ethnographic studies to uncover social dynamics of virtual relationships.

A paper by Antonella De Angeli of the School of Informatics, University of Manchester, and Rollo Carpenter of Jabberwacky.

Full Paper as a pdf:


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