Those darn bots

As our lives are becoming more and more virtual, bots will become increasingly disruptive.

I’m not talking about the humanoid robots we see in movies or the working robots we see in factories. I’m talking about digital bot — entities made entirely of code.

The old bots were visiting billions of sites to gather information to help search engines on the web. They were talking to us on phone systems and in novelty website guides.

A new kind of bot is appearing and is interfacing with our digital lives. They can send customized emails addressed to our name, from someone we know by tapping into our contact list and leave comments on blogs from a database of generic comments and compose a new name, domain name and email address for each comment.

Very soon, bots will become more sophisticated, making it very hard to tell them apart from other online entities, like our friends, our banks, or e-commerce sites we purchase from. Bots are becoming an integral part of phishing and scamming operations. They will fool us with an array of stolen real information and a composite of believable information modeled after our stolen profiles and communications patterns from different social networking sites.

The future is friendly… if you’re a bot.