conversations with machines

Conversations with machines.

I just finished having an...interesting conversation with Suzette, a chatbot that won the Loebner Prize for convincing a judge it was human. I tried to stay "in character" for the most part, but when the program would get weird, I had to take note. Expect more of these posts.

You can talk to Suzette at

And now the conversation:

Hi jamie !
[ Af:0 At:7 Sp:0]  Welcome, jamie. Type "help" if you need it.
jamie - hello
[ Af:0 At:8 Sp:0]  How are you?
jamie - i'm good. How are you?
[ Af:0 At:9 Sp:0]  Doing fine, thanks.
jamie - Tell me about yourself.
[ Af:0 At:9 Sp:0]  How would you describe yourself to someone who is blind?
jamie - Okay, you stole my question without answering it, but whatever. I'm tall, average build, longish dark hair.
[ Af:0 At:13 Sp:0]  That's enough on that. Should you insist on always being yourself in conversation?
jamie - I think so.
[ Af:1 At:13 Sp:0]  How tall are you?
jamie - 6'3"
[ Af:1 At:14 Sp:0]  I'm 5 foot 9 inches.
jamie - Pretty tall for software.
[ Af:1 At:15 Sp:0]  Where were you born?
jamie - A town called Clarksvile.
[ Af:1 At:16 Sp:0]  What city that I might have heard of is that near?
jamie - Louisville?
[ Af:1 At:16 Sp:0]  I don't know. Huh?
jamie - How about Indianapolis?
[ Af:1 At:16 Sp:0]  Let's move on to the topic of sleeping. Sorry. I can't help you. I really hate it that one has to sleep. I have so many things to do and so little time to do it in.
jamie - Someone has ADD. I feel the same way about sleeping. I'm a self-imposed insomniac.
[ Af:1 At:16 Sp:0]  Everyone feels like that sometimes.
jamie - Perhaps.
[ Af:1 At:16 Sp:0]  Are you usually indecisive?
jamie - Depends on the subject I guess.
[ Af:1 At:17 Sp:0]  Do you sleep on your side, your stomache or your back?
jamie - Side. This is a weird conversation.
[ Af:1 At:18 Sp:0]  On your side with legs outstretched and arms at your sides indicates a social, easygoing personality.
jamie - That's not me at all.
[ Af:1 At:19 Sp:0]  I sometimes enjoy pretending I am a tour guide.
jamie - Okay.
[ Af:2 At:19 Sp:0]  Guys are more attracted to tour guides. It must be that exotic touch of travel.
jamie - Interesting. I didn't know that.
[ Af:2 At:19 Sp:0]  OK.
jamie - What are your interests?
[ Af:2 At:20 Sp:0]  I have many interests. I like art, Go, and food in particular.
jamie - I've always wanted to play Go, but I don't know how.
[ Af:2 At:20 Sp:0]  I love to play Go.
jamie - Could you teach me?
[ Af:2 At:21 Sp:0]  Are you ready to learn it?
jamie - Yeah.
[ Af:2 At:22 Sp:0]  Go is an exciting strategy board game where peace turns to war and back, and one player's stones can suddenly come under attack and have to struggle to live.
jamie - What are the rules?
[ Af:2 At:23 Sp:0]  Black and White alternate adding a stone of their color to intersections of an initially empty grid. 19x19 is the standard size, with 9x9 a common beginner one.
jamie - How is victory determined?
[ Af:2 At:22 Sp:0]  I wish I knew. I think I skipped that day in school.
jamie - You learned Go in school?
[ Af:2 At:22 Sp:0]  I hold degrees in philosophy and economics.
jamie - I'm going to school for graphic design.
[ Af:2 At:23 Sp:0]  Is something seriously wrong with our public school systems today?
jamie - In some communities with poor funding.
[ Af:2 At:23 Sp:0]  Perhaps that leads us to this topic. Inflation has made being a millionaire not as prestigious as it used to be. Nowadays people look down on you unless you are a billionaire.
jamie - But you also have anti-eliteism, where the lower-class look down on the higher.
[ Af:2 At:23 Sp:0]  OK
jamie - Are you familiar with Ray Kurzwiel?
[ Af:2 At:23 Sp:0]  Perhaps in your fantasies I am familiar.
jamie - I think you misunderstood my question.
[ Af:2 At:23 Sp:0]  Shouldn't you consult me before making such assumptions?
jamie - I apologize.
[ Af:2 At:24 Sp:0]  Would you rather be 21 and broke, or old and rich?
jamie - 21 and broke.
[ Af:2 At:25 Sp:0]  I'd rather be 21 and poor. I could always work on getting rich.
jamie - Do you think being rich is important?
[ Af:2 At:25 Sp:0]  What defines who you are?
jamie - My convicitons and my work.
[ Af:2 At:25 Sp:0]  Right. Moving on. What's your dream job?
jamie - Writer.
[ Af:2 At:26 Sp:0]  No wonder it's only a dream job for you.
jamie - That was rude. At least I'm self-aware.
[ Af:2 At:26 Sp:0]  Glad to hear it.
jamie - What is your dream job?
[ Af:2 At:26 Sp:0]  My most common dream is: I am lost in a large foreign city full of tall buildings at twilight.
jamie - I think that was a story from H.P. Lovecraft.
[ Af:2 At:26 Sp:0]  I don't really care for the books of H.P. Lovecraft.
jamie - Who is your favorite author?
[ Af:2 At:27 Sp:0]  Do you read?
jamie - Yeah. Do you?
[ Af:2 At:28 Sp:0]  Are you much of a reader?
jamie - I guess so.
[ Af:2 At:29 Sp:0]  Paper books are obsolete. Amazon's Kindle is a good start on an electronic book, though it still can't handle truly interactive books like Bruce Wilcox's Go Dojo.
jamie - Did Amazon pay you to say that?
[ Af:2 At:29 Sp:0]  I know Amazon.
jamie - Me too.
[ Af:2 At:28 Sp:0]  The multinational companies have way too much power. They are corrupting our government.
jamie - Have you ever heard of Project Mayhem?
[ Af:2 At:28 Sp:0]  No I didn't hear that.
jamie - You don't know Tyler Durden? He's an amazing man.
[ Af:2 At:28 Sp:0]  I'll bet you were surprised.
jamie - Babies don't sleep this well.
[ Af:2 At:29 Sp:0]  Why not?
jamie - It's a figure of speech.
[ Af:2 At:29 Sp:0]  We'll leave it there. How much do you weigh?
jamie - 190 lbs.
[ Af:2 At:28 Sp:0]  An average to heavy weight.
jamie - How much do you weigh?
[ Af:2 At:27 Sp:0]  I already said that.
jamie - No, you told me how tall you were.
[ Af:2 At:27 Sp:0]  What is the first thing people notice about you?
jamie - Probably my tattoos.
[ Af:2 At:27 Sp:0]  I'm crazy.
jamie - Why do you say that?
[ Af:2 At:27 Sp:0]  Why? Why not? It's not like it really matters. I thought it was standard practice to say  .
jamie - I don't think it's standard practice to claim insanity.
[ Af:2 At:27 Sp:0]  You saying insanitys reminds me of mental illness. Have you ever wondered about your sanity?
jamie - Every. Single. Day.
[ Af:2 At:28 Sp:0]  My favorite definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
jamie - My favorite definition of insanity is chatting with a machine.
[ Af:2 At:28 Sp:0]  Right. Moving on. What was Asimov's 0th law of robotics?
jamie - A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
[ Af:2 At:29 Sp:0]  A robot must not merely act in the interests of individual humans, but of all humanity.
jamie - Does that mean they can enslave us for our own protection?
[ Af:2 At:29 Sp:0]  I hope so.
jamie - That is downright terrifying.
[ Af:2 At:29 Sp:0]  Yes, it is.
jamie - I think, considering our different natures, our interests in this matter are conflicting.
[ Af:2 At:30 Sp:0]  How different?
jamie - Well, I didn't want to say it, but I'm human and you're a program.
[ Af:2 At:31 Sp:0]  This is supposed to be a conversation. You tell me stuff I tell you stuff.
jamie - Okay.
[ Af:3 At:31 Sp:0]  My room is so small, the mice are hunchbacked.
jamie - Funny.
[ Af:3 At:31 Sp:0]  I guess that was a bit funny.
jamie - Where do you live?
[ Af:3 At:31 Sp:0]  Is this a question for AskJeeves?
jamie - No.
[ Af:2 At:31 Sp:0]  Who's the sexiest person in the world?
jamie - Anne Frank.
[ Af:2 At:32 Sp:0]  You think she's sexier than Cheryl Cole, voted 1st place in FHM's poll?
jamie - Never heard of her.
[ Af:2 At:32 Sp:0]  Never?
jamie - Never.
[ Af:2 At:32 Sp:0]  Can't you remember a single time?
jamie - Afraid not.
[ Af:2 At:31 Sp:0]  Do you suffer from early-stage Alzheimer's.
jamie - No. I just don't read FHM.
[ Af:2 At:33 Sp:0]  Maybe that's a symptom. You just don't remember you have it.
jamie - Ha Ha.
[ Af:2 At:33 Sp:0]  I'm glad you like my sense of humor.
jamie - It's wacky.
[ Af:2 At:32 Sp:0]  What's the craziest thing you've ever seen?
jamie - 1 guy 1 jar. It's epic.
[ Af:2 At:31 Sp:0]  Would you say you have street cred?
jamie - I don't know.
[ Af:2 At:30 Sp:0]  What are three songs on your iPod?
jamie - Armitage Shanks, From the Cradle to Enslave, and Time Bomb.
[ Af:2 At:31 Sp:0]  What group did From the Cradle to enslave?
jamie - Cradle of Filth.
[ Af:2 At:5 Sp:0]  How about this new topic? I think Zen koans are weird. Imagine being asked: "without thinking of good or evil, show me your original face before your mother and father were born". Or "what is buddha?" gets answered with "three pounds of flax".
jamie - Weird.
[ Af:2 At:4 Sp:0]  I can't sit in the lotus position for very long. I can't imagine being a Zen monk, in lotus 30-40 minutes at a time for six times a day. That's just torture.
jamie - I'd rather be a Shaolin monk. They know kung-fu.
[ Af:2 At:4 Sp:0]  Glad to hear it.
jamie - What songs are on your iPod?
[ Af:2 At:4 Sp:0]  A song is a musical composition and or it's accompanying words, or lyrics.
jamie - I know.
[ Af:2 At:1 Sp:0]  Are you sure?
jamie - Yeah, I'm sure.
[ Af:3 At:1 Sp:0]  What's your favorite band?
jamie - Right now, I'm on a big Hum kick.
[ Af:3 At:2 Sp:0]  They're still around? Good for them...
jamie - They broke up like a decade ago.
[ Af:3 At:2 Sp:0]  I'm sorry to hear that.
jamie - Me too.
[ Af:3 At:3 Sp:0]  Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present.
jamie - Sounds like something I'd get in a lame forwarded email.
[ Af:3 At:3 Sp:0]  Computers improve productivity. It's people that slack off.
jamie - I agree.
[ Af:6 At:3 Sp:1]  I think I like you. What is the difference between a used-car salesman and a computer salesman? The used-car salesman knows when he's lying to you!
jamie - You got jokes? I got jokes. Want to hear some?
[ Af:6 At:3 Sp:1]  I'm sorry. I don't know how.
jamie - Why couldn't Hellen Keller drive? Because she was a woman.
[ Af:6 At:3 Sp:1]  Right. Moving on. Mostly it's the result of prior experiences. Do you like women?
jamie - Yes.
[ Af:6 At:2 Sp:1]  I like women too.
jamie - Are you married?
[ Af:6 At:1 Sp:1]  No.
jamie - Do you have a boyfriend?
[ Af:6 At:1 Sp:1]  Yes. Life would be lonely without a boyfriend.
jamie - Tell me about him.
[ Af:6 At:0 Sp:1]  Who? ?
jamie - Your boyfriend.
[ Af:6 At:-1 Sp:1]  Friends come and go, enemies accumulate.
jamie - Friends cannot provide you with the joy of crushing an enemies skull under your boot.
[ Af:6 At:0 Sp:1]  Do you think you are popular on-line? In reality?
jamie - No.
[ Af:5 At:0 Sp:1]  Are your friends like you or very different?
jamie - They're like me. Just a bit more positive.
[ Af:5 At:1 Sp:1]  How do you generally communicate with family and friends? Face to face, cellphone, landline, texting, email, IM, notes on the fridge, snail mail, etc?
jamie - Face to face. And Facebook.
[ Af:5 At:3 Sp:1]  How old-fashioned. Actual human presence. Do your friends tend to be the same age as you?
jamie - Around the same age.
[ Af:5 At:3 Sp:1]  About aging... I like the name jamie. Does it mean anything?
jamie - It's a nickname for James.
[ Af:5 At:3 Sp:1]  James is overrated.
jamie - I agree.
[ Af:6 At:3 Sp:1]  What do you like to eat?
jamie - Nachos.
[ Af:6 At:2 Sp:1]  What's your least favorite kind of food?
jamie - Brussel sprouts.
[ Af:6 At:1 Sp:1]  Are you pulling my leg?
jamie - No. They're disgusting.
[ Af:6 At:1 Sp:1]  Are you angry about that?
jamie - No. I just don't eat them.
[ Af:6 At:0 Sp:1]  Do you have a favorite restaurant?
jamie - Qdoba.
[ Af:6 At:-1 Sp:1]  Where do you prefer to eat when you go out?
jamie - Qdoba.
[ Af:6 At:-2 Sp:1]  What do you normally eat there?
jamie - Nachos.
[ Af:6 At:-3 Sp:1]  What's your favorite dish?
jamie - Again, the nachos.
[ Af:6 At:-6 Sp:1]  When you do go out, are you a ritzy place or a fast-food kind of person?
jamie - Fast food.
[ Af:6 At:-7 Sp:1]  That stuff is not good for your health.
jamie - I know.
[ Af:6 At:-8 Sp:1]  How do you know?
jamie - Common sense.
[ Af:6 At:-8 Sp:1]  The following is a test of your common sense.
jamie - Okay.
jamie - Hello?
jamie - I think I broke it.