Say hello to the latest innovation in open phone numbers.
We’re pleased to introduce Ghostbot, the witty text message autoresponder that anyone can add to Burner to handle unwanted, aggressive, or abusive texting situations.
Ghostbot is both a glimpse of the future and a small taste of what’s possible when the newly popular concept of “bots” converges with Burner phone numbers that are smart and open for anyone to build on.
Texting is a fun, convenient, and regular part of dating culture these days. But we’ve heard from many of our users—and we know from public conversation and the surging popularity of social media communities like @ByeFelipe—that unwanted, aggressive, and even sexually harassing texts are a real and growing problem.
So we partnered with Voxable, the bot makers, and Peter Miriani, a screenwriter, to build a smart, free utility for Burner to help keep people safe and free of unwanted advances.
No longer want to deal with someone? Aren’t sure how to exit gracefully? Don’t want to inflame the situation? Once you switch Ghostbot on, an intelligent agent will take over and handle aggressive, abusive, or otherwise don’t-want-to-deal-with-it texts for you with humor, effective disengagement tactics, and a touch of artistry.
Ghostbot is a glimpse into the future of phone numbers
In contrast to bot-of-the-day strategies that seem to be popping up everywhere, this is not just another way to order a pizza, call an uber, or "join the conversation" with your favorite millennial-targeted brand. Apps on Burner work for the user.
Ghostbot is an example of what kinds of things are in store for our users in the future. The tools we’ve built into our platform make the phone number smarter in ways that traditional carriers can’t (and won’t).
Best of all, anyone can build “bot” or agent-style applications that sit on top of Burner lines using the incoming and outgoing webhooks we built into Burner Connections.
We think Ghostbot is just a small taste of what's possible when intelligent agents are embedded into smarter communication tools. (Want to help us? We're hiring!)
Setting up Ghostbot
Visit the Ghostbot web page and activate Ghostbot on your Burner number (or create a free new Burner number now if you don’t already have one). You’ll want to download the Burner app as well, to manage other settings on the number and to use it with the people you don’t want to ghost.
Select or add the contact(s) you want to ghost.
Wait for a message. When Ghostbot sees incoming texts from a person who has been “ghosted,” it runs a Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine to reply. After a variable delay, it replies to the message with one of many possible scripted responses: For example, “nope,” “I just have no time right now,” “sorry, I’m just completely overwhelmed with work,” or “sorry, just me and 🍕 tonight.” This continues until the conversation peters out and the texter gets the hint.
How Ghostbot works
Ghostbot is built atop a 3rd-party platform called API.ai that has been trained to understand some intents. It also learns from experience. For instance, Ghostbot can determine when a text is a “let’s do something” invitation, a “booty call”, a pick-up line, a proclamation, or a lewd comment, among others.
Ghostbot has a personality that stands in for you. It responds at random intervals with conversational and funny language so that it doesn’t feel like talking to a robot.
Here are a few examples of conversations with Ghostbot. (Ghostbot’s replies are on the left-hand side of the threads in the screenshots below.)
Ghostbot: a collaboration between Burner, Voxable Labs, and Peter Miriani
Ghostbot was developed in a collaboration with the fine bot builders at Voxable, and screenwriter/graphic novelist Peter Miriani. We like to think of it as one part practical solution, one part technology innovation, and one part art project.
A little bit more about our partners:
Founded by partners-in-business-and-life engineer Matt Buck and product designer Lauren Golembiewski, Voxable helps companies harness the power of conversational interfaces by designing and building innovative voice and chatbot experiences for their clients. Voxable’s mission is to help humans and machines better understand one another.
Peter Miriani has written numerous screenplays and graphic novels including "NSFW" and "The Luminous Aldous Spark," both currently in production. Additionally, Peter has over ten years of experience building information categorization and organization systems for search engine marketing and advertising businesses. He holds a Master's degree at USC's School of Cinema-Television. Ghostbot is his first bot.
Try Ghostbot for free
Since Ghostbot is built on Burner, our entire user community and anyone who wishes to sign up for a free-sample Burner number, can now access and use Ghostbot for free.
Get started at ghostbot.burnerapp.com.
We’re looking forward to hearing feedback from our community about Ghostbot—and other bots built using Burner’s open webhooks.
Text us at (310) 919-5060 and talk to the team directly in our Slack channel to convey your thoughts or share your project.