How a Marketing Chatbot Fooled Hundreds of Tinder User
At SXSW, one marketing team uses controversial dating app Tinder to promote an upcoming movie.
Tinder is no stranger to controversy as it recently decided to charge for ‘unlimited swipes’, with this feature costing more for those over 30 years of age. But tongues were wagging for an entirely different reason at this year’s South By Southwest (SXSW) event in Austin, Texas.
At the annual film, culture and technology festival, attendees in the area had their hearts set on meeting a woman named Ava. Ava had a Tinder account and her profile featured a beautiful profile image of a young woman and so as you might expect, many other Tinder users swiped ‘right’ on Ava’s profile to strike up a conversation and possibly meet up with her. Ava’s responses were convincing and she seemed like a real human being. But she was not: Ava was a fake profile that had been created by a marketing team to promote the upcoming movie, Ex Machina.
Ex Machina is a sci-fi film about a computer programmer named Caleb who spends the weekend with his reclusive friend and tech CEO, Nathan. Nathan wants Caleb to perform the Turing Test on a AI (artificial intelligence) program named Ava to see if she can convince people that she is an actual person, but Caleb accidentally grows attached to Ava which means he’s not so keen on the idea of Ava having her memory wiped if she fails the experiment. He helps her escape and thus you have the plot of an engaging techie thriller.
There was no such advanced artificial intelligence behind Ava’s Tinder profile however, as Ava only had some basic chatbot-esque brains behind her. Plus, Ava wasn’t designed to trick anyone for long, as after some conversation she linked users to the movie’s Instagram page where they learned that Ava’s Tinder profile was a setup. It wasn’t all bad news though as a lucky few one movie tickets and passes to Ex Machina’s premiere.