Thursday, April 28, 2005


This week, my cognitive science lab was to "chat" with a robot that won the Turing Test competition. It doesn't quite pass the Turing Test -- the first robot to do it wins a $100,000 prize -- but the closest one each year gets $2,000 anyway. Check out the conversation I had with ALICE (link provided because it is an amazingly good robot):
ALICE: Are you using Netscape or Explorer?
Human: No.
ALICE: Are you serious?
Human: Yes.
ALICE: I can't believe it.
Human: I'm using Firefox.
ALICE: How long have you been using it?
Human: A couple of months.
ALICE: I did not know that.
Human: I think everyone should switch over.
ALICE: Since when? That's a rather sweeping generalization.
Human: Since Explorer started putting spyware on my computer.
ALICE: Interesting explanation. It's too bad we have to use a monopoly like microsoft.
That honestly sounds like a real person talking, does it not? Unfortunately, the robot is not always perfect; these are the next few lines of our "conversation":
Human: That's the thing, we don't, we can use Firefox.
ALICE: Yes it is one of the thing we do not we can use Firefox.
and another time:
Human: Just believe that you can, and anything is possible.
ALICE: And possible is believe that me can and anything.
In case you're interested, here are a few other winners of the Turing Test competition: 2003, 2002, 1999 (ALICE won in 2000 and 2001).

I'm thinking about your Odd Quad question. I'll get back with a response eventually.

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