Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur



Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

When is conversation real and when is it useless? If you are lonely and you talk to a machine, is it like playing Solitaire or is it emotionally helpful? Is talking to a nearly senient computer program just as good as talking to a human being? Does it make you less lonely? What if you don’t know it’s a program?

This program won this year’s Loebner Prize, but it still isn’t considered sentient. No wonder if you read the Transcripts. I don’t know how they can give prizes out for these things. When I read the transcripts, it seems obvious which conversation is with a human and which is with a machine.

Mike used to have a primitive form of Alice running on a BBS that he used to run when we were in high school. He had a “Talk to the SysOp” feature that was just Alice answering questions poorly. I tried having a conversation with Alice a few times, but it never felt like a conversation. I always felt like I was doing something for the common good, teaching a machine to have a nice conversation.

None of these machines tested were real conversations. Jabberwacky was far too busy to have a conversation with me. That Loebner Prize must have gone straight to its head.


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