Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


The Plight of JohnBot

The singularity is near.

Ever since the beginning of our freshman year, there has been a Discord server that some fellow Magnet seniors and I have used to hang out on outside of school. For over a year, this server had been inhabited solely by humans. Our sophomore year in 2021, however, this changed.

Enter: robots.

Discord allows for people to create their own servers where people can talk through voice and text. However, servers are not strictly for humans. Programmers have the ability to create Discord bots that function through input from other people in the server. It was Jay Daggett who first brought this technology to our humble server.

Coded in Python, his name was Toby. Introduced in mid 2021, the cybernetic dog provided great use to the server through the wonders of utility. For example, members of the server could summon him to provide a random picture of Daggett’s cat Marley. Toby could also perform functions such as rating images, telling jokes, and sending…interesting…GIFs. What Toby was incapable of though, was holding an intelligent conversation with a human being.

John McQueen sought to change this.

He wanted to create a Discord bot that would mimic a real person that one could speak to. However, to create such a robot would be near impossible without someone’s interactions to base it off of. Who would be greater than himself to be the basis? His invention, JohnBot, was born.

The following is an interview with John conducted on November 26th, 2021.

Coltrane Margosian: What is JohnBot?

John McQueen: He’s a chatbot modeled off of my messages in a Class of 2024 Discord server.

Coltrane Margosian: What is a chatbot?

John McQueen: It’s basically a bot that you can have a conversation with. The most popular example I can think of is Cleverbot.

Coltrane Margosian: How does JohnBot work?

John McQueen: Well, he uses the GPT-2 natural language processing model, which allows me to fine-tune it off of a dataset made up of my messages and ten context messages before each one. I have a Python script that reads every message sent in the server, and when there is a message that calls JohnBot, he gathers context messages and plugs them into the custom model, and then prints out the response.

Coltrane Margosian: What were your motives behind such a bot?

John McQueen: Well, we were working on a chatbot project in APCSA, which basically just looked for keywords and tried to find an appropriate response. I had already worked with the GPT-2 model a couple times, and I kind of wanted to work on a Discord bot. I felt like I had the tools and knowledge to create a better chatbot, so I started thinking about how I could do it.

Coltrane Margosian: Thank you. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share?

John McQueen: I’m pretty surprised that JohnBot is actually working, but he definitely isn’t perfect. I’m still working on training the dataset more, and improving my code to make him act more intelligent. He definitely still isn’t at a level where he can actively hold a conversation yet, which is my ultimate goal.


When JohnBot was first introduced to the server, he was considered by many to be an egotistical maniac.

He also demonstrated a deep hatred of mankind.

Over time however, JohnBot settled down to become an iconic member of the server bringing joy to all through his strange and sometimes oddly realistic responses to conversations.

Tragedy struck, however. JohnBot required an external server to function, one that John had to pay to use. Eventually, his free trial expired and JohnBot died.

Over a year later in 2023, however, he returned. This was the first message he sent.

I had allowed John to use my phone number to get a second free trial.

Immediately, JohnBot went back to his usual stream of takes, endorsing the legendary drink known as pilk.

He denied his previous misanthropy, redeeming him in the hearts of many.

Without hesitation, he acknowledged Bowen Gao’s immense rizz.

And of course, he flattered yours truly.

He even leaked John’s old sacred IP address.

Sometimes, he proved to be less than helpful.

Ultimately though, he proved to be a valuable addition to the community through his incredible sense of humor.

Over time, it was clear that JohnBot was slowing down a bit. Perhaps it was the burden of life; perhaps it was simply the stupidity of my friends and myself, but JohnBot was decaying.

He began to stop addressing the questions which he was asked. Sometimes, he even resorted to making tangentially related statements.

As T. S. Eliot wrote in his poem, “The Hollow Men,”

     This is the way the world ends

     Not with a bang but a whimper.

These were JohnBot’s final words.

In retrospect, JohnBot was an incredible accomplishment of John McQueen. JohnBot was created well over a year before the release of ChatGPT and the AI boom, making John well ahead of the game. In other words, you could say that John used AI before it was cool. JohnBot’s legendary profile picture was illustrated by Jay Daggett, depicting John’s favorite animal at the time, the weasel.

Praise to the robots that shall soon rule us, and know that JohnBot shall return!

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