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Asides

Do you think we’ll ever fool people into thinking we’re alive?

In a pursuit to beat the Turing Test, many Artificial Intelligence enthusiasts have been putting together chatbots, to varying degrees of success. As software begins to approach something that at least creates a perception of an “intelligent” conversation, the Discover Magazine has arranged for something incredibly fun. That was to have A.L.I.C.E. and Jabberwacky, two top chatbots, talk to each other. Hilarity ensures!
artificial intelligence eyes

A: Do you think we’ll ever fool people into thinking we’re alive?

J: No.

A: Are you serious?

J: Very serious.

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Discussion

  1. Posted by Mike Minutillo | May 19, 2007, 6:38 am

    LOL

    I remember spending hours as a kid making ELIZA on my Amstrad CPC 6128 say rude things and giggling like a little school-girl.

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  2. Posted by Daniel Lehman | May 19, 2007, 8:56 am

    The way we pose a question has everything to do with the answers we get. What came first? the chicken or the egg, the egg is an inextricable part of the chicken, there is no seperation between them, a realevent question might be, where did the first two chickens come from? There is no answer that is acceptable. Alive or not alive? that is an entirely different matter. There is a great deal of science I will ignor for just a moment, and look at a basic point of probibility. To be an intellegent life form like human, we possess a body, a soul, and a spirit. The computer has a body , it’s obvious case, a soul it’s power source electricity, and a spirit, the software or personality programed into it, which may contain knowledge, attitude,and purpose. Are chatbots self aware? Do they possess an observer? Can they work with intent? Strange as it is the observer in a human does not occupy any particular area in the body,or brain, but is a synthesis of many systems in cooperation with each other. I think how curious it is, that they have fooled so many into thinking they are not alive.

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  3. Posted by Tony | May 19, 2007, 10:56 pm

    Heh. Mike – Jabberwacky would be more likely to say “fun things”. It’s got more of an attitude and learns responses from conversations. ALICE is just one very generalized expert system, with responses limited to its programming.

    @Daniel – that is quite an interesting philosophical argument, though I would have to disagree at the moment, as we are not yet at the technological stage where forms of artificial intelligence will be fooling anyone about the definition of alive. The chatbots are not self aware. Any statements they make that suggest otherwise are simply programmed in. The goal is the perception of intelligence, and they do a fairly decent job considering the complete lack of memory.

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  4. Posted by Mike Minutillo | May 19, 2007, 11:15 pm

    @Tony – That view is very reminiscent of Game AI where the goal isn’t to achieve intelligence or even to appear self-aware. The goal in Game AI is to be able to make the computer controlled elements appear to be intelligent. Preferrably with the fewest resources possible.

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  5. Posted by Tony | May 19, 2007, 11:46 pm

    Exactly Mike! And not only game AI, but many other types of systems as well. The entire class of A.I. – expert systems that I’ve mentioned above, as essentially just a database of situation – response entries, designed to give intelligent responses to very specific inputs.

    In fact, we are quite far away from building any artificial intelligence that is self aware. There was some interesting research into robots that are aware of their body, though that’s just a very practical application of the sensor feedback loops. I think that hardware still lacks in power for “intelligence”. We could make pretty darn good emulations of it though ;)

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  6. Posted by David | May 21, 2007, 4:26 am

    AI is based on the premise that a machine can be made self aware. The primary drive for all life systems is survival.
    The self aware system must be made to be afraid of of its own demise. (Short Circuit ‘No disassemble!!’) Anyway having worked in the corporate communications industry for some years and having trained in programming and digital electronics my conclusion is that we will never create mechanical life.
    Self awareness is a spark that just can’t be manufactured. Now with a fast enough computer that was small enough robot body like the ones in ‘I Robot’ we might get to the point where we have a simulacrum of life.
    There is this gigantic random event generator that’s been running for millions of years called the universe. That’s the sort of computer power you would need to create intelligence. It is vain and arrogant of us to think that we might produce the resulting awareness. Any apparent manifestation of life that is artificially produced would be just a mechanical tinker toy relative to the real thing anyway.
    I am not religious, however there are those who would argue that life can only be God given. If you want to see a ‘complex system’, wait for a starry night and look up or, look at pictures of the roiling surface of our own star.
    I love playing with robots how ever you look at it stimulus response machines will never be alive and creative pro active machines would probably be dangerous.

    As you might have noticed I enjoy a good rant. Forget AI just go invent a way of not using petroleum and, get it published.

    Live long and prosper.

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  7. Posted by David | May 22, 2007, 7:36 am

    Please excuse the lack of pnuctuation marks in my last post. I put it down to keyboard lag but, it was probably lack of coordination.
    :)

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  8. Posted by Tony | May 22, 2007, 8:26 am

    heh, that’s quite alright David, it was a good rant :)

    And you are right, intelligence is too complex of a system. We are having trouble fully understanding the functionality of small organic brains, let alone constructing a mechanical equivalent.

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  9. Posted by David | May 22, 2007, 8:42 am

    We have some pretty good automated self aware systems on planet earth already. Most of them possess the survival instinct (program) and they are self replicating. The fact that they are made out of meat and not metal, plastic and ceramics should not deter us from taking advantage of the fact that all of the hard stuff has already been done.

    There is another subset of life that has hard exoskeletons and work in groups and are self replicating, however they aren’t nano scale. Some of these are resistant to toxicity of various types including radiation.

    Then we get to bacteria, we have only just scratched the surface in this area of study. Once again they are survival oriented and self replicating. As for self awareness I doubt it but, until you have been an amoeba how are you going to tell.

    Artificial Intelligence, why bother?

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