There is an online game from which I can no longer detoxify. Every day I go in there and play for a couple of hours. I have many friends who play it, and I often talk to them using the voice chat.
One afternoon I wanted to do exactly that, playing with a friend and turning off my brain for a while to distract myself from work, but when I opened the game client I received a strange friend-request.
I accepted it almost automatically, but the profile that sent it to me was very … particular.
In that game the more you play the more you level up. And of course every profile starts from level one. Well … that profile was level six. Yet, judging by his match-history, it had never played a game. Never. Not a single one.
How did he get to the sixth level without playing?
Did the game grant it to him? Did he bought some special package?
I wrote him a message for explanations, but he didn’t answer… he just invited me to play together.
I wrote him more questions, but he kept ignoring them. He just wanted to play with me, but he didn’t want to write to me. That attitude was too weird, and so I went back to Reddit.
I wrote privately to the profile that he had told me about the black bots and told him that I had most likely stumbled upon another one of those weird artificial intelligences.
“A black bot inside a video game? Interesting. Ignore it and nothing will happen. “
He didn’t tell me anything other than that, so I decided to investigate on my own.
I accepted his invitation to play together, but it was I who invited him this time.
He entered in my “lobby” without saying anything.
I wrote to him in the lobby chat, but he didn’t reply. So I started a game, not sure if I was really playing with a bot. Within the game, however, I no longer had any doubts: the one I was playing with couldn’t be human, he was too bad.
He moved around as if he had lag problems, he had very long reaction times and often crashed. It really felt like playing with an low-level AI.
At the end of the game, obviously lost, I decided to kick him out of the lobby because of the frustration I had in playing with him; only then I realized that the bot had entered in the “voice chat”.
After throwing him out of the lobby his profile disappeared. I thought I was just being blocked at first, but going into my match-history I noticed that the one made with the bot had not been recorded.
So I tried to find that profile by searching on the internet, but I couldn’t remember its name.
Returning to Reddit and writing to the guy interested in bots I told him about the event, and his replies unsettled me.
“Did you play with him?”
“You shouldn’t have. “
“Why? It’s dangerous?”
“Did he invite you?”
“No, I invited him to my lobby.”
“Good. You can still do something then. “
“What do you mean?”
“Your computer is compromised. Disconnect it from the internet use the phone. He’ll call you tomorrow. Just don’t answer. And if you do, don’t talk. “
“Haven’t you disconnect your computer yet?”
“I’m answering from the phone.”
“It’s not true.”
After that message he no longer answered me.
So I decided to download an antivirus program and I tried to clean my computer of any virtual infections, and after that I continued my research on black bots and their actual danger.
I have discover that by looking in depth, in sites that are not really legal, it is possible to find more information about them. In a very controversial forum I discovered that there is a site entirely inhabited by AI, a site that apparently “generates” them. It is not known who created it, but it is theorized that that site is exploited by large companies to “train” their AI’s and improve them, and therefore people theorize that black bots comes from there.
I didn’t understand much of those things. I am not a “computer scientist”, and I should never have entered such forums since I’m not even a hacker or something similar, yet I was there… reading about things that perhaps it is even illegal to divulge.
The next day it happened just what I was told was going to happen.
I was at work when my phone rang, and being surrounded by friends and trusted people I didn’t even think about answering it.
<<Hello? >> I said in a deconcentrated way, but nobody answered me.
I looked at the phone screen to see the name of the number that called me, but it was an “unknown number”.
I disconnected the call and using my cell phone data I went back to Reddit to write to the only person who had given me attention; I told him the latest events.
“You answered the call then.”
“No, nobody was talking.”
“But did you speak? Did you make any kind of noise? “
“I said ‘hello’. “
“So you answered and spoke. You shouldn’t have.”
“And now? What happens?”
“Are you at home now?”
“No, at work.”
“Good. Don’t go home. Don’t even go to the police, it’s useless. I know someone who can help you. But you have to do some things first. “
“Why? What is happening?”
He went on and gave me a series of directions to follow in order to attract the attention of a very small fashion agency. According to him that agency is also working in the medical informatical and technological field, and can help me.
But I didn’t understand. I was scared, but I didn’t know why I had to be. In the end, nothing strange had happened. It often happens to receive “silent” calls. It could have been an ordinary man who got the wrong number to called me. Why be scared for so little?
I couldn’t trust him. He was just an stranger, and internet is full of crazy people who say bullshit, I was one of them. So why trusting him? He hadn’t given me any reason to do it.
So I didn’t.