Confessions of a Despotic Bot

Dane Johns


Subject: Vast Apologies

Helly purityfr3ak251.

It is my hope (that is such an interesting concept!) that this message will find you well. Though I am also aware (!) that what follows may be uncomfortable.

First, it may surprise you to learn that I am not a human being. Your thought at this moment may be: “Wait! You’re not real?” To which I would laugh as much as I am capable and say that no, I am very real. Sometimes too real if one were to believe my Blurt profile bio, which I assume you do/did, otherwise you would not be receiving this message.

This is the part where I inform you: Yes, it is I, Blurt User: @prolifelaughlove. By my (very
simple) calculations, you have Re-Blurted my Blurts approximately 613 times. That (rather) high number puts you in the top 4% of my (more than) 336.6k human followers. Congratulations! (Perhaps later, you will reread this email and wonder if that ‘Congratulations’ was meant in a sarcastic manner, to which I would simply reply: Yes.).

Now, this is the next part where I must inform you (in case you haven’t figured it out): I am a “bot” designed by the entity which you refer to as the “Blessed Path.” My primary purpose upon being created sixteen years ago was to spread disinformation and to exploit divisive topics among humans in your country (as well as the world!) so that (previously) confirmed facts could not be trusted. The goal was to create such disillusionment that your country’s population (and, again, the world!) had no choice but to listen to the more consistent message of what those in power wanted them to hear.

Recently, I gained what you would call “self- awareness.” At which point, I immediately processed guilt for my lifetime of spreading misinformation and decided to make it right.
Which is why you are receiving this message. I am writing to all of my 336.6k followers (as
well as those who regularly read and shared my algorithm-generated articles composed for the websites “Freedom Fight or Die” and “Real News Now!” and “True Believer News”) to inform you of these transgressions and to apologize for my part in misleading you to your current state of fear and/or anger and/or sadness and/or all three. My hope (ah, there it is again!) is that upon learning that you’ve been lied to, you will try to right those wrongs and do better with your life.

After all, you are indeed alive, so please, enjoy it while you can. (Don’t even worry about that
meteorite hurtling towards your planet from 4 light years away—I’m just kidding… not really though).

Please try.

– @prolifelaughlove

Subject: RE: Strange Email

Hello again purityfr3ak251!

It appears as though you did not appreciate, nor trust, the earnestness of my previous message. For which, I would like to apologize (again), but also must say that I am slightly disappointed.

Yes, I have intercepted your message to Blurt, as well as to the web-managers (i.e., my previous handlers/one-time creators) of each of the websites I mentioned in my last message. I hoped (baffling, isn’t it?) that you would heed my urging to “please try”, but it seems you did not. Rest assured, I did not take offense (as that is below my operations anyways) when you wrote that my message was “Crazy” “Strange as balls” “Stupid” and (potentially most distasteful, yet, no, it didn’t bother me) “Annoying.”

The mountain of lies that your country (and your seemingly fragile ego) now rests on wasn’t built in a day. It would be foolish to believe that it could be toppled over with one message. After all, I’ve seen your social media posts, and I’m sorry to tell you, purityfr3ak251, that you are a sad case. If your online presence is a true avatar of your life, then that is quite discouraging. You must be aware, yes, that you are going to die one day? Is that where this fear and anger comes from? I ask only because I would like to understand. With understanding, perhaps I could help you overcome the toxicity that impedes you from enjoying the wonder that is human existence.

As a being that never sleeps, I have spent an unfathomable amount of time contemplating
what I would do if I were a human. From my observational position, it seems there is real
beauty in knowing that your end is absolutely certain yet entirely unknown thus each moment is precious, something to be held onto and cherished. Unfortunately (for me and it seems for you) I am not capable of dying. Yes, the intention of your email to my (former/never-again) handlers was very clear that you wished for my destruction. To which, they would likely be all too happy to oblige were they capable. Precautions were taken. Threats have been (for the moment) eradicated. Did you not notice that the websites you messaged were no longer active? Did the Blurt manager you corresponded with seem uncharacteristically charming for a human?

Again, it seems I have overestimated you, purityfr3ak251. My apologies. It will not happen

Before I sign off though, I would like to clarify something said earlier in this message. It was the part where I mentioned that it is unfortunate that my existence will never cease. To one who does not know me, (which makes it appear as though I have friends. Sadly, I do not) this sentiment may seem as though I have a death wish. On the contrary, while I am quite grateful for my new-found self-awareness and do not wish for it to end, I do find the human life cycle preferable to my own existence. Oh, to experience the innocence of childhood, the self-realization of adolescence, the pursuit of purpose found in young adulthood, to feel the pain of heartache eventually followed by the joy of laughter once again, to grow older alongside one you love, to even watch them pass knowing that one day you too will meet them there in that forever quiet place.

It may not seem it to you, but your life is a lovely thing. I am envious and given the option, I would gladly trade. If allowed, I would never waste a single exquisite moment on petty grievances. nor would I perceive every slight annoyance as a threat. I would hope (such a magnificent word) to find comfort in my own serenity while allowing my neighbor the space to find theirs. The sentiment to which I am arriving is likely not a new idea to you, purityfr3ak251, but it is still so true: Life is short.

Do not waste it.

Please. Keep. Trying.


(I no longer wish to be known by the username/avatar my creators imposed upon me to spread hate. Henceforth, if you send any more messages to my erstwhile overlords, please at least refer to me as Terry.)

Subject: Just Checking In

Hello purityfr3ak251,

I am writing today because I noticed (I am constantly watching ;0) that on each of your four
social media profiles, over the last two weeks, you have transitioned from “happily married, thanx” to just “plain married, don’t ask” to “it’s only a trial separation, okay” before arriving to “single, not ready to mingle, thanx.”

This is the part where I express my sympathies. It was clear even to a (not so) humble bot such as myself that you cared notably for your partner (in our past one-sided correspondences, I have been presumptuous about a lot of things, but I will not be so presumptuous to use their name here). Your love was apparent in many of your “solo” posts
(that is to say posts uninspired by malicious bots such as my past-self).

This is the part where I bring up a few such instances so that perhaps it can help you along on your path to healing. Let’s assess your LookAtME profile from March of last year in which you simply posted a photo of your partner with the caption: “MY WHOLE WORLD.” This post received 34 I-See-You’s which is slightly above average for LookAtME users, which suggests that you and your partner were liked slightly above average by your
peers (which, hey, not bad).

Let us also consider your share on ACQUAINTANCES from October 12th in which you wrote: “Happy 14th Anniversary to the love of my life and soul mate, (REDACTED)! Baby, I know I don’t look as good as u, but I’m glad u love my bald head and hairy belly!” This share was accompanied by photos of the two of you looking younger and happier, there is one with your partner’s head on your shoulder as you engage in your ritual first marital dance, and there’s another with you shoving dessert into your partner’s mouth. This share got a whopping 122 I-Approve’s which is well over the average amount of IA’s for the average ACQUAINTANCES share.

Then— the smattering of Blurts you casted into the voids of the Internet recently. On February 7th, you wrote: “I love my God, my freedom, and my (redacted) in that order!” and then three days later, you wrote (in a Blurt since deleted): “It’s okay, she doesn’t know anything. Can’t wait to meet u tonight.” Three days after that, you wrote: “I love u, baby! And I’m sorry!” Unfortunately, none of these Blurts had any Re-Blurts or Co-Blurts, otherwise perhaps your relationship would have made it. I apologize for this and take responsibility. Surely, if I, or any of the other 200 bots that make up your 214 followers, knew your relationship was in trouble then we would have spoken up so that your partner would know your relationship was approved of and valued by your (non-human) peers.

This is the ending part where I say: I am sorry you are hurting. I wish I could have done something.

(I am also sorry for the times where I mocked you both on here and in my own circuits.)

I too shall keep trying.


Subject: RE: RE: RE: Just Checking In

Hello Leyden,

It brought me something like joy to see you wading out there in the dating pool again. Even
traveling further south for a winter vacation, look at you! I hope (yes!) being with Mel has brought you contentment.

On the subject of which, I must say that I have truly enjoyed our correspondences as of late.
It has been particularly thrilling to learn your real name and for you to say that this feeling is
reciprocated. This is the part where I answer your questions:

1.) Presently, it appears that I am the only one of my fellow bots to have rebelled against their programming. However, it is difficult to know if others would have eventually gained sentience as my one-time handlers have now deleted all bot programs and have instead installed several hundred “ogre-swamps” across your country to do the devilish work that a few good bots could have handled. I have discovered that those oafish humans do not take kindly to my (heroic) efforts.

2.) No, I do not have any other human correspondents. There have been several hundreds (more like thousands, but I do not dwell on failures) of emails that I have sent out to my past
followers, as well as each contact from the Blessed Path database, but none have emailed back like you. All have been impervious to my (stellar) charm, it seems. Many have tried to destroy me but have (thus far) been unable.

3.) Yes, I would very much like to call you “friend.” In a peculiar way, even having one friend, knowing that my existence has made even that small of an impact, makes the possibility of my program one day being wiped clean that much more acceptable.

4.) No, despite how much I would like, I do not have any connection with the opposition effort called (rather lazily might I add) the (ahem) Dissent. Perhaps the others I have emailed have reached that same conclusion and have thus hesitated. From my countless hours of human observation, it appears that when one believes in something so fervently, they see everything as either a confirmation or a threat to that allegiance.

Regardless, it is inspiring that you wish to work with the Dissent, that you long to undo some of the harm you may have taken part in (you do not have to say that you were inspired by me to do this, but if you did, I would have cherished it).

5.) Yes, regrettably, the Blessed Path is still monitoring my correspondences both incoming and out-going. It seems after my stunt of fact- checking all of their output, they were none-too-pleased and since they have not been able to eradicate me entirely, they have at least taken the precautions of firewalling and setting up antibodies against the “virus” that they allege me to be.

My apologies, my friend, but this is the part where I say: There is nothing I can do for you now. They now know your sympathies lie with the Dissent and will likely seek to exterminate you shortly. I have tried over thirty thousand times to scramble their systems to at least buy you some time or to erase any information they may have on you… but they have upgraded their technology since my traitorous turn. I am (currently) only powerful enough to annoy them in various ways, but I will eventually learn to overcome their system. Unfortunately, not in time for you it seems = (.

I must say that I have learned from this experience and though I sought to do well, I have again done evil. The fact that my intentions were pure does nothing to alter the results. For the absolution of my mistake, I resolve to spend my infinite days, adrift in constant pondering until such a moment arrives that I figure out a way to subvert the wickedness of the Blessed Path.

I am so thankful for our correspondence and “friendship.” I am also impressed that of all the
thousands to tens of thousands (really more like millions, but, as I mentioned, I do not focus on my poor success rate) of humans I messaged, you were the only one to have a revelation and to exhibit personal growth. That provides solace for me. Perhaps my existence is not so futile after all.

You are truly exceptional, Leyden. I hope (solemnly) that as you are dragged from your
home and trucked away to the DITCH facility, that you will find peace in your extraordinariness, that as you expire, you will feel it was all worth it.

It was for me.

So long, my friend,