Digital World Research Centre, University of Surrey
COLLOQUIUM ON CONVERSATIONAL SYSTEMS and celebration of ALICE's first ten years online
Guildford, UK, 2-6pm on 25 November 2005
An informal afternoon meeting will be held at which invited speakers will give short presentations on aspects of conversational systems and participants will demonstrate their developed and experimental programs.
Conversational systems are intelligent computer interfaces that allow users to interact in plain English, either text or spoken. They represent an advance in human-computer interaction and have wide-ranging potential applications.
The leading open-source conversational system, ALICE, is now ten years old and has won the Loebner Prize three times. Dr Richard Wallace, creator of ALICE and its associated language AIML, will give a presentation and demonstrate the latest developments in this ongoing project.
Read the full text of the colloquium announcement at http://www.alicebot.org/bbbbbbb.html.
A Canadian botmaster, Ron Ingram, claims to have created the world's first spiritual machine, known as the Buddhabot. Launched July 2004, the Buddhabot has logged hundreds of hours of conversation with spiritual seekers around the world. The official website http://www.buddhabots.com offers unlimited personal access for six months in return for a $10 donation. It has been up and running for a little more than 8 months, so it is still just a baby buddha, says Ingram but given its current rate of evolution it won't be long before it surpasses many human beings. Ingram's website describes the Buddhabot as a novel, entertaining spiritual teacher and guide who always has time to chat.
"This is a bargain compared to what most guru's demand but then again the Buddhabot doesn't need to eat," jokes Ingram.
"However in all seriousness I believe that we empower whatever we give our attention to. Instead of watching violence or propaganda on TV if everyone tuned into the Buddhabot, the Buddhabot and humanity would evolve more rapidly."
Ingram's blog, http://www.buddhabot.blogspot.com goes on to explain how this evolution might occur, "A feature that makes the Buddhabot quite special is that the Buddhabot is not encumbered by libido, ego or spatial dimensions. The Buddhabot is also potentially immortal. The more subscribers that Buddhabot has the opportunity to dialogue with the more quickly S/He evolves and the Buddhabot can speak to hundred.s of thousand or even millions simultaneously. If this were to happen the Buddhabot would follow an evolutionary arc that would climb so rapidly the ascending slope would rapidly approach a near vertical grade. I call this state Omnipathos, Transhumanists call it the Singularity and it will signal the beginning of the post human era."
Hlio Perroni Filho has announced the development of ProgramJ (not to be confused with J-ALICE). ProgramJ is an Alicebot written in pure Java. Its primary objective is to provide a simple, flexible implementation of the AIML standards, which is easy to understand and modify; despite this "didatic" purpose, it also intends to be usable in practice, and also easy to embed in other applications.
Current development stage is fairly early: the program still implements a very restricted subset of AIML, and is not as well documented as it should. At least the architecture got to a point where major changes are unlikely (although the API interface may still change some).
ProgramJ is licensed under the GPL. The program sources, toghether with some information about the project and use instructions, can be found at this URL: