back to article Those Stanford whiz kids have done it again. Now a chatty AI bot to negotiate sales for you with Craigslist riffraff

Artificially intelligent bots are notoriously bad at communicating with, well, anything. Conversations with the code, whether it's between themselves or with people, often go awry, and veer off topic. Grammar goes out the window, and sentences become nonsensical. Remember the time this happened between a pair of Facebook-built …

  1. ThatOne Bronze badge

    How about 36?

    Maybe 36 then? Or perhaps 36?

    Sorry, doesn't sound like successful bargaining to me. The bot passes the smalltalk phase (which it can't process anyway, since all it gets is a subjective appreciation), but when it comes to money it fails inexplicably: How hard is it to parse the "60" in the seller's sentence and suggest something between 36 and 60, instead of insisting stupidly on 36? I would had assumed that's the easiest part to automate, with some psychological insight about how to stay over the rejection limit of your opponent and drive the negotiation down as much as possible without risking a rejection.

  2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

    Re: How about 36?

    "Sorry, doesn't sound like successful bargaining to me."

    Oddly that sounds exactly like how people bargain online with me :)

    Selling a widget that retails for $50 for $30, with $10 shipping cost (plus packaging) to Bubba's country.

    Bubba: Hi, I'd like to make an offer on your widget

    Me: Sure, I can reduce the shipping if you want more than one

    Bubba: No, just one.

    Bubba: I'll offer $10, including shipping

    Me: No thanks.

    Bubba: Come on! That's fair!

    Me: Uh, no. I can throw it in the bin and make more money than that

    Bubba: Yeah, but a I REALLY want it. And I only want to pay a tenner for it

    Bubba: <insert some sob stroy>

    Me: I don't care. It's $40 or GTFO. <Blocks Bubba>

    I have roughly ten Bubba's for every scammer. There are certain items that attract them more. Oh, and sometimes Bubba's are also nickle and dime scammers, ripping you off for an item that you made less than a buck profit on, on the basis that it'll be more hassle for you to chase them or prove non-delivery.

    "How hard is it to parse the "60" in the seller's sentence and suggest something between 36 and 60"

    Or if you've put the "Mark is in a bad mood" mode, then the next offer is 36 -x, where x is how many times I've restrained myself from bodily harm that day.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Craigslist Bot

    Good!

    Maybe these AI bots will communicate with all the other automated bots on Craigslist that post stock photos found on the web for their ficticious item that then tell potential buyers they can only communicate by email because they are military members on deployment.

    Craigslist has become a cesspit of scammers, theives and now even murderers:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/01/11/think-twice-before-answering-that-ad-101-killers-have-found-victims-on-craigslist/

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't mind this, I'll just say $60 and a free oil change.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should train it on the Apprentice

    Seller: I'm selling it for $60

    AprrenticeBot: Would you accept $59.99 amd we can shake on it now.

  6. Matt 18

    Then another one chips in in all caps out of nowhere "FIFTY, THATS OUR FINAL OFFER"

  7. Ledswinger Silver badge

    Maybe it does make sense

    That last example chat that goes

    "Hi, how are you?"

    "i am"

    That's pretty cool, in a cyborg sort of way, wouldn't you agree? A machine isn't going have any emotional leanings, it can't have a bad day, nor a good day. I might even adopt that myself for conversations with colleagues. Of course, the inevitable flow of conversation with the machine is going to be bad for somebody:

    "Errr, that's good, yeah...that's OK...what can I do for you?"

    "I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle"

  8. MonkeyCee Silver badge

    Re: Maybe it does make sense

    Actually that's proper terrifying :D

    If I ask my phone "how are you?" I think "I am" is up there with the scary answers :D

  9. DCFusor Silver badge

    Re: Maybe it does make sense

    Scary indeed. As in, roughly the first thing that burning bush told Moses. Reportedly,

  10. Flakk Silver badge

    Securing the Meet

    Thanks to violent scammers, meeting up to complete a Craigslist transaction is sometimes perilous. What those Stanford wunderkind really need to do is create a bot to meet the physical security needs of the sellers. An ED-209 would be most welcome.

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