Lyndsay Rush
August 19, 2014 1:43 pm

We all think we know our robots from our humans. E.T: robot, Brad Pitt: human, Robocop: BOTH. But give us a computer and an online dating account and we don’t know what’s real and what’s not.

Take for example, the 28-year-old New Yorker who turned his OK Cupid profile into a robot. Well, sort of. In an effort to see just how impersonal online dating has become, Schuyler Hunt created a fake profile, and then when a woman would message him, he ran all of his responses through Cleverbot, which is essentially artificial intelligence chat software that attempts to mimic or reproduce human conversation.

The resulting conversations were, of course, pretty ridiculous. But even more ridiculous was how many people fell for it, at least for a while. Hunt now has many of the interactions on his Tumblr, Girls Who Date Computers, where he points to how impersonal online dating can be and what this means for our ability to connect authentically these days. It wasn’t a very nice thing to do, but it did teach us a valuable lesson: never assume an online dating profile is for real.

So it raises the question: how do we make sure we don’t fall in love with a robot? (If I had a dime). Let’s take a gander at some signs that might indicate a fake online dating profile.

1. Their messaging responses make no sense.

I’m not talking about drunk-text shenanigans, I’m talking an inability to follow proper flow in conversation and nonsensical replies. Let’s take a page out of Mr. Hunt’s Cleverbot book. Here is an example of a script from his Tumblr:

Girl: Hey

Hunt/Cleverbot: What did you do today?

Girl: I just got home from school

Hunt/Cleverbot: School is a good place to go to further one’s self in life.

Girl: Yea I like school

Hunt/Cleverbot: Do you like pancakes?

Girl: Lol yea

Hunt/Cleverbot: Oh my god, they killed Kenny!

And so on and so forth. Here’s the deal, there is quirky and then there is nonsensical. Even the weirdest dudes can mostly follow a basic conversation. So if you are messaging with someone and it sounds like this, throw your computer out the window and run. Metaphorically, that is.

2. They only have one photo, and it’s a model. And you’ve maybe seen it before.

Chances are, this person is not who they say they are. Out of principle, if I’m on Tinder, I never swipe right if the guy only has one photo. Something just doesn’t’t settle there. Either he is too lazy (bad sign) or he can only find the one (worse sign). Just recently, a model sued Match.com because she claims her photo has been used in hundreds of fake accounts without her permission. So, yeah, this might be a real thing people do and we should all be more discerning, even in the presence of a striking photo.

3. They send you invitations or links to check them out at a different site.

Dude, no. This is often a sign that either they are musicians/artists/actors trying to get views on their personal pages or further their careers, or maybe even lure you to their pornographic sites. Both are not cool and not authentic to why you are (probably) on online dating sites. P.S. I don’t think this applies to Instagram. I like when people put that in there so you can check them out and verify they are who they say they are. It’s actually the anti-catfish.

4. Their profile is barely filled out.

Whether this is just a person who doesn’t care enough to fill out their profile, or a scammer who is too lazy, you are probably better off without interacting with this person. An incomplete dating profile should be approached with caution and suspicion and your killer instincts.

5. Their social network is really small.

The rule of thumb, apparently, is that the average person has 130 Facebook friends. Anything dramatically lower should indicate an impostor/scammer/robot, so keep an eye on those friends and followers.

6. They’ve got their doctorate.

According to data from the dating site, SeekingArrangement.com, 37 percent of scammers claim to have a doctorate. That sucks for real doctoral candidates looking for love, but so it goes.

7. They’re famous.

Sure, Martha Stewart was on Match.com but that’s pretty much it. If someone’s profile has a picture of Edward Snowden, it’s probably a fake.

Overall, just keep your wits about you, even as you fall into the web of love. All of the rules you use in real life, use online and don’t let a handsome smile or sexy, but slightly incoherent banter soften your instincts. Be safe and smart, kiddos.

(Images via, via, via, via, via)

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