We haven't had a 'bot' thread in , well gosh, seems like a month. They are real, and the best are yet to come. They probably represent the one thing that actually could kill online poker.
Recently, like in the last week or 2 there was a contest between the state of the art bot, run by I believe the University of Toronto (feel free to correct me) and Phil Lock and another pro.
The pros won. But it was a convoluted contest, and the idea wasn't so much a contest as a learning experience. The AI bots needed more info on what and how to deal with imperfect information. The whole field of AI lacks in this area. At the halfway point in the contest it looked like the bots were holding their own. During the break, the pros gathered their wits about them and took control.
Eventually this technology will spread though the young guys programming cult, and will end up in a bot capable of +ROI real money
poker against live online players.
It is one of the reasons private tourneys, such as the ones here, are much better than the anonymous tourneys in the world.
I for one would welcome a site regularly REQUIRING something in the chat box from each player at a table. At bare minimum it would help slow down an infusion of bots.
They are real, they are here, and better ones are coming!