February, 2005

The Smallest AliceBot

Program E version 0.09

Anne Kootstra, Founding Member of AIML.info and main developer of Program E, has announced a new release of Program E, version 0.09. Program E is an AIML chatterbot written in PHP and using MySQL. Program E consists of a converter which loads the AIML files into the database, a core rule engine that adheres to the AIML 1.0.x specification and several chat interfaces: HTML, Flash and XML-RPC.

Version 0.09 files contain JavaDoc style comments. PHPdocumentor turns these code comments into a developer manual, included with the release. This release is intended mainly for developers.

Other changes include:

Thank you, Anne, for the first upgrade to Program E since August, 2002!


More often than not these days, we find out about new bot companies through Google ads. Sometimes, they are even AIML companies. The ad says, "Chat with Intellibuddy", and, "Talk to an artificial intelligence character online". When you visit their web site http://www.intellibuddy.com/, you are greeted with an Oddcast VHost and an AIML chat bot. A little poking around reveals the parent company to be Intellim Research. But one question left unanswered in our minds, is how they plan to make money from the IntelliBuddy site?


Esteban Aparicio has developed a Trillian plugin called TrillAlice TrillAlice. Trillian is a multiprotocol instant messaging application for Windows created by Cerulean Studios. that can connect to multiple IM programs from one client, such as AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, IRC, Novell, Rendezvous, and Jabber networks TrillAlice is a chat bot based on the A.L.I.C.E. program and AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language). The AIML sets allow the bots to hold conversations with contacts or even act as highly customizable away messages.

What color is my red shoe?

We always welcome and appreciate contributions to the open ALICE AIML source, which is distributed freely under the GNU public license. Recently we had a welcome donation of AIML to the ALICE Brain from filmmaker and photographer Tony Sharp who says he is "working on an AIML bot for my website right now to help answer questions that I get asked constantly."

He also wrote, "A friend of mine was whining about how ALICE couldn't answer silly questions like 'What color is a blue shoe?' and so on, so I decided to write out the code to answer these kind of stupid questions." Tony's AIML has now been incorporated into the Annotated ALICE AIML set http://www.alicebot.org/aiml/aaa/. You can chat with the bot based on the AAA set here .

Maria in the Media

"Artificial Intelligence Alive and Well in a Robot Named Maria" Scoop (NZ) (01/19/05)

'Maria is a virtual robot created by Ph.D. student Shahin Maghsoudi and Dr. Tiru Arthanari of the University of Auckland that can interact with people using a 203,000-word vocabulary supplemented by 118,000 logical inference rules and 106,000 rules of grammar. "When humans interact, they rely on their mutual understanding of a huge body of shared knowledge," Maghsoudi explains. "On a daily basis, we add to our personal database of knowledge stored in our brain." He says such a database must be programmed into a robot in order for it to interact with people in a way that feels natural. Arthanari brought his knowledge of statistical inference methods to the project so that the end product could be used as an electronic "assistant" that can answer multiple student questions concurrently and conversationally, 24/7; he created a specialized database that included the subject expertise, knowledge of where to refer students for ancillary data, and content relating to effective teaching principles. A key focus of the project is building trust between the robot and students, says Arthanari, who adds that "The real success will be when students feel that interacting with Maria is just like going to a real teacher who apart from the subject matter knows a little about the students as well." To this end, a portion of the database is devoted to composing profiles of students from keyboard input or a form the student fills out when first interacting with the robot. Shahin, who is working toward his Masters degree by developing virtual robots that can be employed as help desk operators, teaching aides, and Web-based marketing assistants, is currently concentrating on giving robots the ability to make common-sense judgments.'

Click here to view full article.

Robot Companion to Aged

The origins of ALICE are many and varied, but one motivation came from a Thai friend who said in 1992, "I think you should develop a robot to keep old people company". It seems that a Japanese company, Business Design Laboratory, has made this dream come true.

New EllaZ Features

The non-AIML EllaZ Bot by Kevin Copple defeated ALICE and six other contestants to win the Loebner Prize in 2002 (ALICE won in 2000, 2001 and 2004). The on-line version of Ella will now retrieve current information via XML Web Services using InnerGears and WebserviceX for the following functionalities:

Some versions of AIML interpreters also have the ability to retrieve information over the net.

New Links Section

We have revamped the left navigation bar on our website to include a new "Links" section (the old navigation bar is archived here: http://www.alicebot.org/origleft.html). The Links section includes ESL, Books, Referers, Film and TV, Recent Press, Popular Culture, Web Ontologies, ALICE and A.I. History, Scholarly Research and Teaching
and Our Archive

Generally speaking, the source of most of our links is our own site's referer log. Organizing these links into meaningful clusters has been an ongoing problem for the AI Foundation for many years. The problems arise from a variety of factors. First, there is a huge variance in the significance of each link. Some may provide a lot of useful information to AIML botmasters, others may mention ALICE only in passing. Some may provide a huge traffic flow to alicebot.org, others only a trickle. Second, the lifetime of web pages varies considerably. Links from academic sites tend to remain the longest, but in other cases the content, organization, and very existence of a web site may not last beyond the lifetime of an employment contract or corporate acquisition. The more sites that link to alicebot.org, the more checking we have to do to see if these sites remain in existence and up to date. This leads to third factor, the sheer number of related links we would like to review but cannot. One need only scan the referer log to see the growing number of blogs and forums containing interesting discussions of ALICE, AIML and bots.

Our solution for the time being is to maintain a Links database of the most recently noticed links in the referer log, and to include only these in the links subsections. This prevents us from having too many links or dead links, and enables us to review them in a timely manner so that we can ensure a measure of quality. The downside is that we will no longer try to maintain, for example, a complete list of every press article about ALICE since 1995. Instead, we will concentrate on that which is "current" and rely on tools like the WayBack Machine for the archival documents.

New AIF Computer

The A. I. Foundation acquired a new computer, the Sharp Zaurus SL-C3000. The Zaurus is either the world's smallest notebook computer or the world's most powerful PDA. Pictured here (top of page) next to the Foundation's "mainframe" HP Pavilion notebook, the Zaurus C3000. One marketing angle is, "The only PDA on the market with a built-in HDD". But with a pre-installed Lineo Systems Linux OS built on the 2.4.20 kernel, 64MB RAM, a 416mhz processor, 4GB hard drive and a full qwerty keyboard, that makes it more like the smallest Linux notebook on the market.

Read the full review here.