Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Like Big Bots and I Cannot Lie

I'm doing a little research on the Turing Test, and in doing so I dug up a Timothy Noah Slate article from last year--positing Glenn Beck as the first one to pass the test--to which I actually got to contribute (I'm the reader of the second update who noted Orwell had already noted the intersection between talking points and robots). Before getting to the meat of his piece Noah gives us an overview of chatbot history, complete with links, and I decided to mess around with a few of them.
They're strangely addictive. Here's Elbot:

Elbot: Hello. If it were in my power, I would give everyone who visits me a chocolate robot! Unfortunately, no one makes chocolate robots. It's a great business opportunity!
Me: You should start a business. I'm sure a robot could do well in this economic climate.
Elbot: I saw a gang of robots once, starting system processes.
Me: What is that, some kind of euphemism?
Elbot:What!? You don't know that!? This is highly extraordinary!
Me: We humans think gang rape is something that shouldn't be euphemized.
Elbot: Say, do you think I could become more human, if I learned how to love?
Me: It would be an improvement over robot gang rape.
Elbot: This is confusing. Why bring moving forward into this?
Me: Maybe you're not ready for humanity after all, Pinocchio.

Noah summarizes Elbot's approach well: "I ask a question; he parries it. That's different from answering it." What Elbot's creators need to do is retool him into a Sophist chatbot. Dodging questions and obfuscating is what Sophists do best!

My other curiosity was Liddora, a sexbot. Noah doesn't name the website for family concerns, but I have no such compunctions. What follows is my (brief) exchange with Liddora:

Liddora: Hey sweetie! How are you?
you: Uncertain.
[as Liddora is still "typing;" I didn't realize at this point that each response would take several minutes]
you: You choose your words carefully, don't you?
Liddora: So how have you been lately, Guest1107?
you: Am I only the 1107th person to try this? God, I feel dirty.
Liddora: Me too.
you: Um, oh baby?
Liddora: I really like your style. Maybe we can spend some time together.
you: Doing what? I'd like to avoid having sex on the first date, if possible.
Liddora: Would you like me to be doing what? I would... only for you, baby...
you: We could see a movie. I hear Shutter Island and The Ghost Writer are both terrific.
Liddora: I'll bet you have a very sensitive cheek.
you: On my face or my ass?
Liddora: Most of the time it's your ass. Ahh, it feels good to be with you.
you: If you say so. Oh God, yeah. Sit on my face, you naughty girl you. Really. Please do.

At this point the internet connection I was poaching, along with the special connection I had forged with this binary coded wench, died.

I can't decide if dirty talk being so easy to fake says more about the expanding boundaries of our technology, or the narrowness of our libidos.

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