This individualized repository would be the source of conversational material (Cleverbot style) for replacing a user. We were in discussions to develop a conversational personality as an Applied Minds project co-funded with Fujitsu Labs of America.But that material would be incomplete because the user wouldn’t have said everything needed for a chat, so Bruce planned a system that would take an input sentence, send it as query to Google, and read a page of Google results to find the sentence most closely responding to the input. Then he added code to store user sentences into a database. But Danny broke his shoulder in a skiing accident, got behind with his paperwork, missed Fujitsu’s funding cycle, and the project nose-dived off the priority list with everyone except us. Most commercial engines are proprietary, so we don’t know how they work or what issues in chat they address.Nor can it be tailored for a specific purpose, like being a character in a game. Its weakness is that you have to author everything. Before we arrived in Hawaii, Bruce was whisked away from his connecting flight to go to Los Angeles and talk to Danny Hillis of Applied Minds about making ‘The Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer’, a faux-human teaching machine with a personality.
(Go is an oriental strategy game far more complex than chess.) They’d discussed the Primer idea on the phone while we were in England, so we were already full of ideas about a conversation-based personality. After several rounds of negotiations over a working from home issue, it turned out AR didn’t have its avatars ready for work on gestures anyway.
Casting about for some way to continue the connection, Bruce suggested Chat Bots to replace off-line users in a conversation stream.
Its patterns are highly expressive so that you can create complex notions quickly and compactly.
The language syntax is simple and visual, making it easy to script things using a plain text editor.
And, the cellphone games company Bruce had been telecommuting to back in California full-time went under. All we can cover here are issues and how they were handled in AIML, Chat Script (our engine), Façade (a video game), and Personality Forge, a Chat Bot hosting service with a better language than AIML. The syntax is XML-based, meaning it is good for machines but overly wordy for direct human scripting.