Joanne McNeil explores technology meant to simulate online chats with friends and acquaintances so that you needn't have them yourself. :

Reading the company’s mission statement, one imagines a dystopian cyber world of chatbots holding conversations with each other in lieu of actual persons too busy, too lazy, or to indifferent of one another to bother allocating time to talk.

It's a fascinating post, complete with a James Franco bot. The best line: "I like to joke that the perfect Facebook app would crawl through birthday listings and automatically leave 'Happy Birthday' comments for others on the appropriate day without you ever needing to know about it." Oh, man, if they manage that, I'll have to get my own Facebook account. I mean an "authentic" one.

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