Getting someone to lose your number just got a lot easier. For all those times that you might want to make a digital dash for the door, you’ll need Ghostbot. This new tool from Burner is an app that helps you create alternate, expiring phone numbers for calling, texting, and picture messaging. And now, it has rolled out Ghostbot, your new best friend.
Described as a “text-messaging bot that helps you ghost away from fleeting relationships — without the emotional baggage,” Ghostbot may be marketed as a way to get out of bad Tinder dates, but there are a number of other use cases that don’t involve crushing someone’s hopes and dreams. For example, if you need to make a Craigslist transaction, but would rather not have your real number floating around with a stranger, you can use Burner to text your contact with a temporary number, and enable Ghostbot to automatically respond to messages as noncommittally as possible.
To use Ghostbot, simply apply the tool to one of your Burner numbers (you can have as many as you want), and the bot will automatically be assigned to deal with anyone and everyone you’re contacting by utilizing your faux-phone digits. Whenever a persona non grata attempts to contact you, Ghostbot will do your dirty work for you — that is to say, be coy and aloof.
“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,” CEO Greg Cohn told TechCrunch. “Part 2 is the actual responses — various but scripted — and it’s not the case that we expect this bot to pass the Turing test and fool the world into thinking its person. The general idea is this will kind of handle a situation that’s casual and light and a cooling-off period, but of course it’s possible to trip the bot up. The general idea is at some point, by the time people clue in it might be a bot, things have cooled off and the person has moved on.”
And while it may seem a bit cruel at first blush, or even second blush, Cohn says that being able to avoid conversation in a sometimes over-connected world could be a good thing. “Opening up phone numbers in the way we’re opening up creates the possibilities of all kinds of capabilities,” he noted. “You can imagine a future that a phone number knows you’re driving a car or someone sending you something inappropriate.”
So whether you’re looking to ghost or just really busy, you may want to check out the freedom and privacy being offered by Ghostbot and Burner.