In today's connected society, text message etiquette can be a tricky minefield - especially when it comes to rejecting amorous advances. But an answer may be at hand with a program from the makers of Burner, an app that lets users create and destroy new phone numbers.
With the Ghostbot application, which can be assigned to any active Burner number, users can avoid all contact with someone - "ghosting them" - by allowing the bot to send automated responses that show a lack of interest, thereby dissuading further contact.
"The idea is to avoid a situation where you don't want to have a confrontational conversation, but don't want to go dark on them," said CEO Greg Cohn.
One of the biggest potential uses for Ghostbot is when dealing with unwanted dates. There are those times when telling someone you're not interested can lead to unpleasantness or even threats.
Ghostbot analyzes messages to pick an appropriate response. If, for example, it sees "would you like to meet up?" it will reply with something along the lines of "nope, overwhelmed with work" or "can't tonight." It can even use emojis to appear more human.
"We hear a lot of anecdotes about terrible texting from dating matches, but sometimes blocking someone creates an awkward social circumstance. Ghostbot helps you go through the motion of ghosting someone without negative consequences," said Will Carter, co-founder of Ad Hoc Labs.
Ghostbot is being shown off as an example of what's possible using the Developer Connection Platform, which lets people build extensions for the Burner service.
If you want to try Ghostbot out for yourself, just go to this site to start autonomously snubbing people.