Thursday, June 17, 2010

The State of the Artificial

In a sense, artificial intelligence boils down to a set of IFs matched to a set of THENs, with a response rule. If the user types or (eventually, a few years from now maybe) speaks x, the program responds with y. The IFs are simply a collected inventory of remarks to build the bot's mind, which will eventually function generatively as well as merely responding with straightforward statements, questions, and inferences. And this will eventually be done in a way that is indistinguishable from a human. . . .

I've been monitoring new voices as they come out, but that Mike16 is awfully close to being indistinguishable from a real human person speaking. Bandwidth is the problem for chatting in voice, understanding natural language is the biggest programming problem, but speaking it back to the user is getting very good.

  An artificial intelligence program can include self-coding, analysis of universals, and metatheoretic analysis, but so far this type of thing is in its infancy, basically limited to strings of keywords, although that itself can be quite effective. I'm working on a theistic philosophy bot, but the basics can be quite tedious since you have to deal with the entire set of more realistically possible first and second moves in conversations. For example, think of a bot asking the user "Does God exist?" or "Do you believe in God?" You first have to think of all the usual or typical responses, and then provide responses for each one. But then comes the second user response to your first response, so you have to build secondary responses to those, etc. For a stunning example of what happened when a real person conversed with one of the first chatterbots in the mid-60s, check out The potential for other subject matter (such as belief in God) is obvious. Weizenbaum's own assistant, who worked on the project for several years, once got into a conversation with this same simple Eliza program---and demanded that everyone leave the room so that she could be alone with the program.