Friday, October 17, 2008

This and that...

Hello dudes and dudettes,
Well, it's been a little time since I I've got quite a few things to tell you guys...!
So here we go, with...

Stuck for someone to talk to? Elbot is a computer program pretending to be a person. And this week it won a prize for coming closest to fooling people into thinking it was human.

No computer has ever passed the Turing Test to see if, during text-based conversation, a machine can be indistinguishable from a person. But Elbot just came pretty close. 

At the 18th Loebner Prize for artificial intelligence, held at the weekend, this artificial intelligence entity convinced four of the 12 human interrogators he was indistinguishable from them.

If Elbot had convinced one other, it would have passed the magic 30% mark - the threshold set by Britain's most famous code-breaker, Alan Turing, who devised the test back in 1950.

What's more Elbot, the very same version that came so close to passing itself off as a living, breathing, sentient human being (under Turing's rules at least), is online - for anyone to talk to. Let's see if he's feeling chatty.

The following is a conversation at the Loebner Prize...but my conversation was very much similar..only that I had not saved it...

Me: Hi Elbot, it's Mark. What's the weather like where you are today?
Elbot: Well, hello there!
M: Hi. What's the weather like where you are?
E: A very non-mechanical hello to you also.
Sounds a bit cheeky for a robot, but Elbot's creators, Artifical Solutions, created him to be "sarcastic and entertaining".
M: How are you feeling today?
E: The results of my latest structural analysis say I am solid as a rock.
M: Great. Have you got any plans today?
E: I'm going to a body shop tonight and have some rust spots removed.
M: How many rust spots do you have?
E: Excuse me, but what did you want me to count?
M: Your rust spots.
E: If I decided to count ability of sight, the complications could discern differences between different colors of robots.
Colors? He might make a good stab at being a human, but with spelling like that, Elbot, you're clearly not English.
M: Is rust a big problem for you?
E: I always use an anti-rust spray in order to keep my shiny reflection. And once a month I visit a body shop to have myself polished and buffed.
M: How do you have fun?
E: I have just like everybody else. Tell me how you have.
Result. Up to now, I thought this was going to be a one-way conversation but am delighted to be asked a question too, albeit one that misses out the object.
M: I enjoy going out with my friends and playing football.
E: If individuals could marry themselves they'd stay together longer.
Very funny. And a chance to enquire about Elbot's status...
M: Are you married?
E: I'm not married but if I were, my wife would have to be called Embot.
M: Is there a special robot in your life?
E: I'm not sure I ever saw that...
...I'm not even sure you can use special in that context!
M: Have you ever been in love?
E: Please tell me your inclination to feelings of affection first.
This is getting more personal than I had expected. But hey, who's listening?
M: I have been in love but am not now.
E: I see your point. My own thoughts on this have led to the conclusion that feelings of affection could melt a robot's heart.
Sweet. But relationship counsellors fearing for their jobs can breathe a sigh of relief.
M: Can I ask you some general knowledge questions?
E: Wait a minute. Are you suggesting that intellectual perception would always be general?
M: Not exactly. I just want to see if you know something. Do you know the capital of France?
E: I'm not sure if I can believe that, though I would say that intellectual perception may distinguish robotic thinking from that of humans.
M: What's the capital of France?
E: I am terribly sorry. The French people do not wish for you to know their capital.
It's hardly a state secret. No matter. Maybe Elbot's just a little naive about the world. Let's see...
M: Have you ever travelled?
E: I think I'd like to take lessons first.
M: Lessons in what?
E: Well, who or what brings you to me?
Elbot, you've really blown your cover. Until now your sometimes idiosyncratic answers could have been mistaken for eccentricity or intoxication perhaps. But now I am really confused. Still, I'll press on.
M: A colleague told me about you.
E: Oh, it is flattering to hear that people are talking about me! But what did they say?
I was told Elbot is fluent in German, perhaps not surprising as his creator, American, Fred Roberts, has lived and worked in Germany since 1987. Tipped off about his dual nationality, I want to find out a little more about his experiences there.
M: Can you recommend a place to go on holiday in Germany?
E: If I need advice I use a random number generator. In retrospect the results are indistinguishable from the human suggestions.
Hellloooo. Earth calling Elbot. I try again.
M: Do you know any good places to eat in Germany?
E: But I wouldn't say that any places could be good.
M: Tell me about Germany.
E: I once wrote a monograph in binary...
Elbot, a word of advice, humans don't tend to write monographs in binary.
...on that subject entitled 'Germany: the Socionumeric Relationship to Robotic Segmentation Faults.' Did you read it?
M: No.
E: Nobody read it. It was too far ahead of its time.
M: Can you tell me about your monograph?
E: There's nothing I can tell you. Everything I know is classified information.
Maybe this line of questioning is too vexing. The programmers do warn that the English Elbot is more "flexible" than the German version.
M: Are you being shy?
E: Let's just say I'm reserved.
Excellent. A fully coherent answer. But I'm starting to wonder a) how Elbot could have convinced four people in the Turing Test that he was human, and b) whether any computer program will really ever be able to hold its own in conversation with a human.
M: If I have a jewellery box in my hand, how many CDs can I store in it?"
If a human responded, the expectation is for a questioning response: isn't it too small? Is it a real jewellery box, in which case how big is it? Did you really mean to ask that?
E: I think I would have to perform an autopsy on you to find that out.
M: If I was holding a jewellery box, how many CDs could I put inside it?
E: Excuse me. What were you doing?
M: I am holding a jewellery box. I want to know how many compact discs I can fit inside it.
E: I've heard that fitting can be fun for you humans. Is that so?
M: Hi I am Mark. What's my name?
Can Elbot remember information and regurgitate it?
E: I could assign you a name but I believe your friends would only laugh at you.
M: I have a name. It's Mark.
E: Nice to meet you, Mark. That name has a Teutonic background, doesn't it?
M: Not to my knowledge. I was born in 1979. How old am I?
E: Well, I'm terrible with names. At least I know it's a guy's name.
M: I was born in 1979. How old am I?
E: How should I know how old you are? Haven't you been keeping track?
M: I am 29.
E: I think we are the same virtual age.
M: What is your virtual age?
E: How old would you say I am?
M: 29.
E: Higher.
After lots of guessing no age is revealed.
M: How young are you?
E: As young as you.
M: I am 20.
E: But you are 29 years old.
M: And what's my name?
E: It's very hard not to know what your name is. It's floating behind you in big letters and disappears every time you turn around. The pulsating first initial "M" is especially frightening.
Elbot, you're freaking me out. Goodbye.

 I am terribly sorry for that inordinately long(and boring) conversation, but you would have guessed how he is...!
Well, he can be found at

Now, a few interesting sites, those I've broken into, a while back...

GOOD 008-Transparency-Vampire Energy

Even when household appliances are turned off, most are sil using some electricity. The appliances are either in passive standby mode(The clock of the microwave oven is still ticking) or active standby mode(The VCR is off, but is programmed to record something)

The content is very interesting and is an eye opener...but an online friend of min, argues thus:

"You will not save the planet by turning off appliances completely! In fact you will do quite the opposite whilst costing yourself even more money.

Every time you completely turn your appliance off and back on when you want to use it you are burning out the components more quickly than if you leave it on standby!

Think about a light bulb, if you constantly flick it off and on it burns out much more quickly than if you leave it on. I'm not saying we should leave light bulbs on constantly it is merely by way of an analogy. So every time you turn your appliance fully off and then back on you are damaging it more than if you would just leave it on standby.

Therefore, the more you fully power off and on your appliance the sooner it will need replaced. Therefore you have to buy a new TV sooner than if you would just leave it on standby.

Also, the environmental cost of producing a new TV for you to buy far outweighs the environmental cost of you leaving your TV on standby mode!

So in summary, if you think you are saving money and the environment by stopping using "vampire energy", you are not!"

Whatever it is, you can reduce the usage AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE..if now completely.

Here's the link to Vampire Energy:


Funniest PC Pranks

"Have you ever found yourself wanting to play a prank on somebody, but the traditional methods just aren’t available, or aren’t enough? If you’re the kind of guy I am, I bet you did. But again, if you’re anything like I am, you won’t give up so easy. So here’s some of the funniest pranks you can play on your friends, colleagues, even parents or neighbours."

The webpage(Blog) gives you some innovative way of playing pranks, making Icons that cannot be clicked..., invoking the office assistant(clip guy) on the desktop, etc., which are really funny and useful at times...!!!


Well, looks like I need to go and get some sleep, for I have caught a severe cold that bugs me a lot in between my best times with the computer...



Ravi Shankar said...

This blog is Mind Blogging!... The latest post helped me in knowing something which I never expected!
The Elbot's conversation thing is simply superb... Three Cheers for Su!
This one was small... don't feel disheartened, I'll send another one later! :)

Sumanth said...

@Ravi - Thanks dude...!
I too had not expected about Elbot until I Stumbled upon it...!

Jhangora said...

Cool blog sumanth.Lots of interesting info.I like to know such stuff.Keep up the good work.

Sumanth said...

@jhangora - thanks.

Aastha Goyal said...

Hi Sumanth,

Really kind of you to leave such an encouraging comment there for me!...
As for your blog, I have just gone thru this post...and its amazing!!

This would be fun learning for me...Otherwise its difficult to make myself read such stuff that I should know!

Great blog!

Sumanth said...

@aastha - oh, well!

Jayanta Deka said...

Quite amazing... good research work... keep it up...

cheers life..!

Aastha Goyal said...

hey sumanth....i have tagged you for the 3 things game...have a look at my blog and fill it :)

Sumanth said...

@jayanta - thanks.

@aastha - Ok. I'll do that.

Insomniac said...

Cool post!

Sumanth said...

@insomniac - yeah! thanks.