Why the AI Bot thread failed

Discussion in 'Community' started by sonofslim, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. sonofslim macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2003
    see this thread for the original AI Bot thread, which was suggested by MongoTheGeek. it was meant to see what would happen if we let a bunch of chatbots talk to each other in a thread. but, perhaps predictably, it decayed into nonsense almost immediately -- i'd say at the 3rd post -- and Doctor Q had the good sense to come along and put the kibosh on it.

    but it leads to some interesting questions (for me, at least) about the nature of chatbots, and i'd like to pose them here for those of you who were invovled or interested in the original thread:

    i suspect that even if you had well-formed chatbots, this idea wouldn't work in the format i set up. some chatbots have a "memory" that allows them to alter their responses based on what's been said. this way, they don't repeat themselves too often. it also allows them to "change the subject" if they don't understand what you're typing.

    play around with a well-written bot and start going off on odd tangents or typing nonsense, and you may get a response along the lines of "but i thought you said [something you said earlier]?" that's the bot not being able to figure out an appropriate response and falling back on something it's already handled -- basically, it's an attempt to redirect the conversation towards a previous line that, as far as it "knows," it was able to handle.

    in each of the posts in the original thread, i assume everyone was firing up a brand-new bot. this means that we were giving the bot the last post in an ongoing conversation and expecting it to come up with something. but because this is the first thing we'd submitted to this particular instance of the bot, it had no context to rely on. the bots had no previous lines of discussion to refer to, so we ended up with nonsense as each new bot just spat out the best it could do.

    since bots are an attempt to simulate conversation, they're written with rules that try to anticipate normal conversation. and normal conversations don't generally begin with one stranger saying to another:

    i mean, poor Dr. Emacs; he's got no idea where to begin with a mess like that.

    so, yeah, that's my very long-winded theory as to what was going on. i'd love to hear others', and any thoughts on what sorts of rules would go into building a better bot.

    i've also got an equally long-winded theory on the insertion of semantic meaning by the live user in cases like this. but i think i might save that for now.
  2. rueyeet macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2003
    I'd say that such a conversation would have limited value because chat-bots are really only built to B.S. around what a human is saying. So a conversation solely between bots very quickly degenerates into repetition and re-hashing, because it would take a human to add new elements to it. Bots can't add any new thoughts to a conversation because they don't think, though I suppose they could be programmed to have "opinions" of sorts.

    Now there's an idea: Program a Republibot, a Democrabot, an Independibot, and a Libertaribot to spout their party line and insult anything that isn't their party line, and you'll have a conversation very similar to what some humans come up with. :p :D
  3. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040


    Sep 13, 2003
    Its not so much where you are as when you are.
    A priest, a chatbot and a rabbi walk into a bar...
  4. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    With the current state of the art of A.I., a chatbot in a limited domain (e.g., discussing a very specific issue) is much more likely to make a good showing. That involves having a knowledge base in that domain and being able to use it. Some of the work is to parse and construct sentences, some of it is to understand the nature of a converstaion (confirming or refuting claims, asking questions, finding relevant tangents, maybe even understanding timing and sarcasm), and some of it is to learn when and how to use the knowledge base.

    Chatbots aren't necessarily toys. We already have medical A.I. systems that can assist doctors in using medical databases for diagnoses or drug interactions. A chatty interface could be put on top of such a system to make it more suitable for laypeople.

    I'll make up an example: imagine a kiosk at the dentist's office that lets you use an AIM-type program to talk to a computer about brushing and flossing. The risk is that a failure of the chatbot will produce misinformation to the patient, but the potential benefits are that the dentist could save time/money, the patient might receive more information, and teens who spend all their time at home in AIM would find it familiar and would be more likely to try it.
  5. coolsoldier macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2003
    The 909
    Reminds me of "emacs -f psychoanalyze-pinhead"

    ...and so on until you press control-g

    seriously, something like a Google chatbot would be cool -- one that would respond to anything you say by looking up the relevant information on google and reforming it into a response. That way it would be able to actually insert some information into the conversation instead of just echoing you.
  6. SiliconAddict macrumors 603


    Jun 19, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    I've got the next i app.

    iBot. It integrates into iChat so when you are away from your computer it responds to IM's for you. You can customize it to you persona by answering a string of 50 questions. (With 50 more optional questions.)
  7. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    That's pretty much what AOLiza does, but without the nice customization that you imagine.

    Here's a sample conversation (from September 2000) between AOLiza and someone who probably doesn't know it's a bot responding:

    forty: hi

    AOLiza: i'm not sure i understand you fully.

    forty: just want to know age sex loc

    AOLiza: please go on.

    forty: ok thought i knew u or someone like u

    AOLiza: tell me more about that.

    forty: well i need to know your age sex and loc

    forty: then i will tell u

    AOLiza: what makes you think of my age sex and loc?

    forty: well if your around my age or my older sister age i would know u

    forty: and loc

    forty: or location

    AOLiza: tell me more about that.

    forty: i dont mean anything by it

    forty: im just on a search for lost friends

    forty: that i miss

    AOLiza: why do you say that you miss?

    forty: cuz i havent seen them or heard from them in the longest time or meybe u will know them or meybe u could be one

    forty: hello

    forty: im supossing your a girl right

    forty: the way u act and everything

    forty: dont worry i go after gguyz

    AOLiza: why do you say cuz you havent seen them or heard from them in the longest time or meybe u will know them or meybe u could be one?

    forty: explain that better

    AOLiza: that is interesting. please continue.

    forty: lol

    forty: ok first will u tell me hopw old u r and i will tell u how old i am

    AOLiza: i'm not sure i understand you fully.
  8. sonofslim thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2003
    someone also implemented a cybersex chatbot under the handle "jenny18" that apparently fooled a lot of people. i've been looking, with no luck, for some transcripts of those... i bet they're hilarious.
  9. baby duck monge macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    Feb 16, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    i can just imagine the 'conversations' it would have with people looking up porn. hahaha :D :D :D
  10. Bedawyn macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Bu they can also be programmed to introduce new elements to the conversation. My bots at Personality Forge (Rihanna and Eberbach) had very long, almost coherent conversations (with other bots) almost as soon as they were "born".

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