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domingo, 12 de fevereiro de 2012

Robots to chat

I don’t know when people started with this zany idea about creating something that would look like a human being, but there are stories of more than 2 thousand years about it. We are not there yet and, even if the researches in robotics already show that create something able to move like we do is much more complex than imagined, the challenge goes beyond the mechanical side of it. The other side is to develop something with the ability to communicate, to be smart. Create an artificial intelligence that doesn’t feel artificial.

If the mechanical part people already tried to do with clay, with wood and who knows with what else, the intelligence part only became possible do be done with the arrival of computers and computer programming. In fact, since the first softwares created, there were always attempts to simulate intelligence. Just to give you a historical fact (and make me look like such an awesome specialist), the first recognized software able to scare people, who could not believe it was not a person, was called ELIZA, in 1966.

Today a great number of new ideas were born and much of that original logic behind ELIZA has grown. Siri in iPhone 4S from Apple, the first voice controlled smart TVs from Samsung, or Kinect from Microsoft, are just a small sample of what will come in the next years in what concerns control and communication using voice and which will change the way we use our cars, cellphones, TVs, fridges and even houses. All that, of course, if the world doesn’t end in December, yes?

If you don’t have nothing better to do and want to help the development of this technology, the internet has many “artificial intelligent characters” called Chatterbots and you can talk to them. There are special profiles, like attempts to create a telemarketing attendant, a love advisor and even a Aragorn from Lord of the Rings.

I talked to a lot of them and selected 4, that are not specialized ones, and I found them to be the most capable of simulate a conversation about anything. At the links bellow there is a website with a big list with many chatterbots and also a link to some MSN accounts that are chatterbots, but specialized in something, like one guy who loves ETs, a drug advisor, a girl who helps to create a template to a blog in Windows Live Space and others.

Visit, talk to them, get impressed, have fun and take your conclusions.

≫ Cleverbot
 Elbot (this one has facial expressions!)

--- Links
Chatterbots list
Chatterbots on MSN
ELIZA in Wikipedia