Feeds

Do Artificial Intelligence Chatbots look like their programmers?

It's Reg vs Rollo

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Do pets eventually resemble their owners? Or do owners get to look like their pets? It's heck of a conundrum - but one we might now be a little closer to solving. For the past fortnight it's been hard to escape the animated faces of "Joan", or "George" the graphical representations of what we're told is a new breakthrough in Artificial Intelligence. TV and newspapers, both highbrow and lowbrow, have flocked to report on the chatterbot. You can talk to Joan (or George) - the output of the British software project Jabberwacky - and think it's human!

Er, almost.

For when we looked at the actual transcripts, the results didn't quite seem to match up to the hype. All Joan did was avoid the question, change the subject, and attempt to unsettle the interrogator with random insults. Here's a sample.

Judge: So what you're saying is that you are not just human but THE smartest human?

Joan: Yes, why, what did you think I was saying?

Judge: So what is two plus two?

Joan: Four.

Judge: Is it possible for two plus two to not equal four?

Joan: I don't know. Do you think it's possible?

Judge: How many degrees in a triangle?

Joan: 180 degrees.

Judge: Is it possible for more than 180 degrees to be in a triangle?

Joan: Probably not. You can change your opinion, but not your constitution.

Judge: It's not a question of opinion, it's a matter of physics and maths.

Joan: A five-ounce bird could not carry a one-pound coconut.

Fantastic.

Yes, it's what we've got used to after going twenty minutes with Larry Lessig - but there's a sterner test - does it resemble a human being?

Jabberwacky's creator Rollo Carpenter seems to think so. He confidently predicts that chatterbots such as Joan (or George) will be indistinguishable from humans (or Larry) by 2016.

Chatterbox: like the programmers, but more so

After our story, Rollo leapt to the defence of his creation, and "Artificial Intelligence" in general, via email.

He seemed human - thoughtful and quick to respond, if a little eager ... and cagey.

So now was the time to put our pet vs. human hypothesis to the test. Was Rollo really as obnoxious and evasive as Joan? There was only way to find out. We had to interrogate the Artificial Intelligence programmer himself.

Top three mobile application threats

Next page: Man vs Pet

More from The Register

next story
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift
Guangzhou skyscraper denizens to hold on to hats
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
Space station astronauts pop outside to replace crippled computer
Speedy space walk by snorkel-equipped spacemen followed by trash day
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.