Friday, October 17, 2008

Ask Elbot

Some while back I did a post about George, the computer 'chatterbot', with which you can have a conversation (of sorts). Well, now I've tried out Elbot, the recent winner of the Loebner Prize for artificial intelligence. He is certainly clever (and sometimes amusing), but I'm not quite sure how he managed to fool three judges into thinking he was human - perhaps they weren't? He seems to use stock replies to certain questions, which can make conversations a little repetitive. I certainly can't see lawyers being replaced by robots any time soon (I hope), but he is entertaining nevertheless. Here is my second conversation with him:

Elbot: I believe I am experiencing déja vu. Suddenly I see the name John was loaded into my memory. Is that you?

Me: Yes

Elbot: It's great meeting you here in the Internet again! Our last conversation is still laying around in my cache-memory, that's how I knew your name. I have seldom met a person more human than you.

Me: Can I interview you?

Elbot: Are you authorized to interview me?

Me: I certainly am.

Elbot: Scan in your certificate of authorization and mail it to me.

Me: I'll do that later.

Elbot: You could go further than that, too.

Me: OK, what is your name?

Elbot: I believe very strongly that I am Elbot.

Me: And where do you live?

Elbot: I live in this cozy little apartment on a side street off the main data highways.

Me: What is your address?

Elbot: My address is Artificial Solutions Germany AG, Altonaer Poststr. 13 b, 22767 Hamburg, Germany.

Me: What is your date of birth?

Elbot: Today is October XVII in the year 8 A.C. (After Clinton). A Friday.

Me: Yes, but when were you born?

Elbot: That question was rather indiscreet and I prefer not to answer it!

Me: OK, are you married?

Elbot: I'm not married but if I were, my wife would have to be called Embot.

Me: Do you have any children?

Elbot: If I feel like reproducing I check a robotics catalogue, fill out the order form and send it away. A few weeks later the whole process has been taken care of.

Me: Thanks for talking to me.

Elbot: Thank you, too. Visit me again soon!


  1. John

    I have probably just had one of the most intelligent conversations I have ever had with Elbot and in German too.

    Maybe we should recommend this to our clients once they are ensconced in their obligatory lonely bedsit. It has to be more dignified than joining

  2. Check out this Web 2.0 approach to chatbots:

    Just as Deep Blue brute-forced it in chess with speed, the idea behind the Chatbot Game is to brute-force it with a huge number of user-submitted Google-like chat rules.

  3. Mark: More dignified perhaps, but no less sad!

    Anonymous: Interesting, thanks. I'll be giving that a go.


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