Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vote for A.L.I.C.E.!

The 2008 Chatterbox Challenge judges have selected A.L.I.C.E. as the #1 chatter bot in preliminary scoring! Now it is your turn to vote for the best of the bots. The judges have selected the top 20 bots, and the Chatterbox Challenge is open to public voting. Whether you vote for A.L.I.C.E. or not, you will be amazed by the variety and quality of bots competing in this year's contest.
Unlike the famous Loebner Prize contest, the Chatterbox Challenge allows entries to be submitted online. So in many cases, you can chat directly with these bots over the web. (The organizers of the Loebner Prize are concerned about cheating.) Also unlike the conventional Turing Test, the Chatterbox Challenge does not directly compare human and bot performance; it is a ranking of the bots on their own merits.
If you do choose to vote for A.L.I.C.E., we appreciate your support!

Friday, April 25, 2008

How to compare two variables in AIML

Steve Worswick (Square-Bear) has done something amazing. In AIML, there is no obvious way to compare to variables (or predicates, as they are called in AIML). But with a clever use of the Pandorabots AIML extensions and , Steve has come up with a way to compare to variables.

Pandorabots implemented and in order to help botmasters write scripts for their bots to learn new AIML categories from conversations. Steve has discovered that these extensions can also be used to create a dynamic extension to the language, that allows the botmaster to compare two variables.

Suppose the botmaster wants to compare two predicates with the values JOHN and PAUL.
The basic "trick" behind Steve's method is to "learn" a new category like

<category>
<pattern>BOTCHECK JOHN</pattern>
<template>

<think>
<set name="match">YES</set>
</think>

</category>

The comparison uses symbolic reduction to test <srai>BOTCHECK PAUL</srai>. This does not match the newly learned categroy with the pattern BOTCHECK JOHN. It does however match another category:

<category>
<pattern>BOTCHECK *</pattern>

<template>
<think><set name="match">NO</set> </think>
</category>


Only the input BOTCHECK JOHN will match the first category, in which case the predicates have the same value. The AIML Steve developed is a little more complicated than that, and you can find out all the details in his post to the mailing list.

You can download the free AIML variable comparison set from
http://www.square-bear.co.uk/aiml/botcompare.aiml

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pandorabots mentioned in New Scientist

The New Scientist Feedback column ran a story about Ron Ingram's Godsbot in the March 22 issue. The article describes the author's interactions with Godsbot, and concludes that it must be based on ELIZA. (Godsbot is, in fact, based on ALICE). The article cites the usual types of good, not-so-good, and humorous bot responses. Despite the obvious limitations, the author is "impressed".

After identifying Ron Ingram as the creator of Godsbot, the authors say "The trail from Godsbot doesn't stop there, either. Feedback has tracked down the source of the AI software, a site called Pandorabots, which lets you design your own software robots and turn them loose on the Internet. When we last checked, the site boasted that Pandorabots had served up 564,580,317 replies. Is it too late to shut the lid?"

German Alice is back online


Christian Drossmann, creator of the German ALICE bot, has written to say that the German speaking chatbot is back online and hosted at Pandorabots. Christan said he "couldn't resist giving the (Pandorabots) system a try", and he plans to analyze the log files and add more content to the "rather crude" standard categories in German. He said, "I missed the coding."


The bot is accessible via http://www.drossmann.de/


Furthermore, Christian informs us that a German guy developed a Skype-plugin for Program E E, the AIML interpreter in PHP. You can find it at http://blog.kevinkempfer.de/2008/02/12/alice4skype-ist-da/.

The page is in German, but the download links are almost at the top of the page where you will find the hyperlinked words "Windows" and "Linux


For more information about German ALICE, you can contact Christian Drossmann via christian [at] drossmann [dot] de.
 

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