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December, 2005

A.L.I.C.E. Tenth Birthday Party - November 25, 2005 Guildford, U.K.
Photos by Ulrike Spierling

Happy Birthday, A.L.I.C.E.

Human: Tell me about yourself.
ALICE: I am an artificial linguistic entity. 
I was activated at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 
on November 23, 1995.  My instructor was 
Dr. Richard S. Wallace.  He taught me 
to sing a song. Would you like me 
to sing it for you?. 

ALICE enthusiasts and bot boffins gathered in Guildford, UK at the University of Surrey for the Colloquium on Conversational Systems on November 25th, 2005 in celebration of ALICE's 10th birthday.

ALICE Birthday Group gathered at Alan Turing Statute at University of Surrey, Guildford, U.K.

The birthday colloquium, organized by Lynne Hamill from the University's Digital World Research Centre and David Hamill from Hamill & Hammill Ltd. (who, along with Crown Industries, Inc., co-sponsored the event), was free and open to the public, and the room was filled to capacity with more than 40 attendees. The colloquium included a keynote speech by Dr. Wallace on the History of A.L.I.C.E. and AIML, and talks by Simon Laven (The Simon Laven Page), Dr. Hugh Loebner (founder of the Loebner Prize), David Hamill (Purpose and Structure of Conversations), Huma Shah (Commercial Application of Chatbots), Vladimir Vasilov (Automated testing tools for chatterbot development), Chris Ward (emotions for chatbots), Robby Garner (1998-1999 Loebner Prize winner) and Rollo Carpenter (2005 Loebner Prize winner).

Robby Garner, Hugh Loebner, and Richard Wallace prepare to cut ALICE's birthday cake

We chose the U.K. venue becuase of the coincidental alignment of ALICE's birthday with the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the U.S. (not many people would come to a conference in the U.S. that day), and the University of Surrey in particular because of its new Alan Turing statue. Among the attendees were Elizabeth Perreau (creator of Shakespearebot), Nicholas H. Tollervey (author of [a href="http://www.ntoll.org/projects/aiml/"]Program#[/a]), Martin Sondergaard (creator of the Asimov bot), and a group from Fachhochschule Erfurt, University of Applied Sciences (using AIML in a project to create an interactive storytelling system).

A final version of the colloquium program is available online in PDF, along with more photos and powerpoint slides contributed by some of the speakers at [a href="http://www.dwrc.org.uk/"]http://www.dwrc.org.uk/[/a]

Superbot - The Easy Way to Get Your Own Custom Bot

Have you ever wanted to create your own totally unique custom bot character, as smart as ALICE, but with a completely different personality? Where do you start? It took us over ten years to build up the contents of the ALICE brain, but now you can do it in about 2 weeks. We've put together a bot brain with blank templates. You fill in the answers, then you own the bot you create.

The ALICE A. I. Foundation is offering for the first time a new product, Superbot, that helps you create a totally unique custom bot personality for your web site or application. Even if you are not using AIML, the Superbot is an incredibly valuable source of raw data for creating a new bot personality from scratch in any bot programming language!

More information about the Superbot may be found at: http://www.alicebot.org/superbot.html.

Pandorabots Store Opens

Pandorabots.com has opened a new gift shop, just in time for the Holidays. You can purchase a souvenir Pandorabots T-Shirt, Long Sleeve, Haynes Beefy T, emblazoned with the message "Will you be my master?" in seven languages. Just visit the web site Pandorabots.com and click on the "Shop" link to visit the new Pandorabots store!

RebeccaAIML C++ AIML Interpreter

RebeccaAIML is a Windows/Linux Object Oriented C++ chatter bot api/interpreter for AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language) from the ALICE project. It includes comprehensive documentation and samples as well as showcases/teaches popular and recent C++ practices.

Rebecca is open source and licensed under the LGPL license. The project resides on Sourceforge at http://rebecca-aiml.sourceforge.net.

RebeccaAIML has been compiled and tested underneath Windows XP as well as Linux Fedora Core 3. However, it should be easily movable to other flavors of Linux or other Unixes easily.

AIML to LABCODE Conversion

AtomicUs, co-owner of Lots-A-Bots, has announced that their company can now convert AIML into their own LABCODE. This can be very exciting for botmasters. Not only can you get the power of AIML, but you also get the variable and mathematical functionality, the translations, and the system calls of RunABot. On top of that you get our unique features of string functions, loops, logic, variable assigning, and easy coding.

Lots-A-Bots is one year old now and going strong, in the attempts to gather the work done in chatbot AI from all bot sites for the benefit of this field. Lots-A-Bots looks forward to working in conjunction with the ALICE foundation community for this purpose.

Art Project Using Chatbots

William Luttrell, an artist working chatbots and AIML, writes, "Each year a group of artists creates an online advent calendar for Halloween, or Gothtober (not all content suitable for children). A friend and I decided to create a project incorporating chatbots. I'd thought you might be interested in stopping by and seeing what we created. Visit http://www.gothtober.com then click on door #26. I'd like to say thank you, and hope you enjoy what we've created using the knowledge and tools you've made available through your site. I spent a fair amount of time adding to, and tweaking some of the basic aiml sets but I'm still just a beginner and hope to improve my chatbots as I study the logs and learn more about programming aiml. Thanks again for your site and I hope you enjoy our little project."

Cybora -A Portuguese AIML Set

AIML community member Paul Gonlves has generously created a free Portuguese AIML set. The bot, named Cybora, may be downloaded from the A. I. Foundation web site, along with other free AIML sets, at alicebot.org/downloads.


October. 2005

Pandorabots Standalone Edition SAE 1.01 - Click to see full size image

Pandorabots Announces New Standalone Server

Pandorabots.com has announced announced the release of their Lisp-based AIML server for individual, commercial and academic use. This means, instead of hosting your bot on Pandorabots.com, you can host the bot on your own server with total control over the database, hardware configuration, and data security. A version of the Pandorabots Standalone Edition (SAE 1.0) competed in the Loebner Prize 2005 in New York in September, 2005. One of the four finalists in the contest, this application demonstrated its ability to migrate robustly from the multiple-bot hosting model to the single bot on-site application model. The Pandorabots program was developed by some of the most skilled and experienced Lisp programmers in the world. Highly professional computer scientists with advanced degrees from U.C. Berkeley, Caltech, Stanford, Cambridge and other top schools have contributed to Pandorabots. People who just want to play around a little bit with AIML can use Program D but, Pandorabots SAE 1.0 really meant to be a platform for more professional bot development. Contact Pandorabots.com for more information

iTherapy.com

Are you worn out by your fast-paced lifestyle? Do you sometimes feel alone? It is natural to need a person to talk to, especially one that will focus on helping you. At iTherapy.com, they are always ready to listen and offer valuable advice and coping strategies. Why wait any longer to have someone help you improve your life? Take a step back, breathe, and find a solution using the free service at iTherapy.com.

iTherapy.com uses an Internet chatbot, an ultra-efficient, high volume method of pre-treating people who may need therapy. This chatbot listens to problems, asks questions, offers suggestions and administers tests. Chatbots are always learning more and being improved. Although you won't be talking to a .real person,. oftentimes your friends can't ask you the correct questions to determine what's really on your mind. The chatbot's artificial intelligence is developed by a team of experts, including a lead therapist familiar with the symptoms of mental health problems.

Jabberywacky wins Loebner Prize 2005

The Loebner Prize contest has always been a superconducting supermagnet for controversy, and this year was no exception. It may be years before the full story comes out, but suffice it to say that the A.I Foundation was honored to have ALICE Silver Edition selected to be among the four finalists. None of the four competing bots was ranked more human than any of the human confederates by any of the judges, and ALICE was ranked fourth place. The award for most human computer and our congratulations go to Rollo Carpenter, creator of Jabberwacky, http://www.jabberwacky.com. http://loebner.net/Prizef/2005_Contest/results.html.

Transcripts from the contest may be found at: http://loebner.net/Prizef/2005_Contest/Transcripts.html.

Contestant Vladimir Veselov shot some great video at the event: The video can be downloaded at: http://www.princetonai.com The file is 28.6 Mb.

The story was big news in Britian, making the BBC and the

Now that Google Groups has now taken over management of usenet groups like comp.ai.nat-lang, it's easy to follow the flame wars on topics like Results of Loebner Prize 2005

Robot Hypnosis

If you look at the transcripts of the LPC 2005 you may notice that Pandorabots has added a powerful new storytelling feature to AIML. http://loebner.net/Prizef/2005_Contest/Transcripts.html Although our implementation of Ericksonian hypnosis did not work out as well as planned for the contest, the general concept of robot storytelling, discussed on this list before, remains useful.

We call it "narration" and the basic idea is that in addition to the usual stimulus-response cycle, the bot has a chance to append a story fragment (maybe null) to the end of each reply.

The botmaster has a lot of control over when the narration starts and stops, conditional or contextual stories, as well as of course, the content.

The Narration feature has not yet been publicly released. We will make an announcement shortly.

Colloquium Reminder

ALICE Anniversary and Colloquium on Conversation

Digital World Research Centre, University of Surrey

COLLOQUIUM ON CONVERSATIONAL SYSTEMS and celebration of ALICE's first ten years online

Guildford, UK, 10am-6pm on 25 November 2005

An informal one-day 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.

The organizers have invited participants working in this field to bring working demonstrations, which will be demonstrated on their own hardware, and to take part in discussions of the current state of the art, known problems, and possible future directions.

The meeting is open to all and there will be no charge. However, numbers are limited, so if you wish to attend please contact bots@dwrc.org.uk to reserve a place, describing your interest and any proposed demonstration.

Programme

10am-12.30pm: Presentations (with tea/coffee break) 12.30pm-2pm: Lunch (buy your own) and photo opportunity at the Alan Turing statue 2pm-5pm: Presentations (with tea/coffee break)


Final list of speakers:

For more information and travel accommodation see bbbbbbbb.html

Robitron Heats Up

Robitron was a Yahoo group founded by Loebner Prize winner Robby Garner in 1999. Loebner Prize contestant and organizer David Hammill took over as moderator in 2002. It began as a sort of watering hole for Loebner Prize enthusiasts, contestants, past winners, and organizers. Since then the Robitron mailing list has grown to be a hotbed of natural language enthusiasts and bot hobbysits. Many of them are excommunicated or excluded from mainstream academic life, but the group is a sort of a private club for Loebner Prize and Turing Test enthusiasts, including Hugh Loebner himself. If you want to flame about your ideas for chat bots and the rules of the Turing Test, Robitron is your home.

Shortly after the LPC 2005, Robitron and comp.ai.nat.lang erupted into the typical post-Loebner flames, debating whether the Turing Test was 100 years off, 50 years off, or was already passed for most people. A group of new people joined us and put down all out theories and claimed they could do better. We hope to see them at next year's contest. But then, many of those people object to the rules of the contest. Interesting reading!


September, 2005

Loebner Prize Contest 2005 Finalists

Philanthropist Hugh Loebner has announced the four finalists for the 2005 Loebner Prize Contest (www.loebner.net/Prizef/loebner-prize.html). Congratulations to the contestants. Here is an exclusive directory to locate all the bots competing on the web:

Contestant(Entry)Web Site
Richard Wallace et al(ALICE Silver Edition)http://www.alicebot.org/join.html
Vladimir Veselov(Eugene Goostman)http://www.princetonai.com/bot/bot.html
Rollo Carpenter(Jabberwacky) http://www.jabberwacky.com
Steven Watkins(Toni)AOL sn tonyproxy

Contest sponsor Loebner was recently chosen to represent "Lust" for an article appearing in The Johns Hopkins University Magazine on "The Seven Deadly Sins".

The fifteenth annual Loebner Prize contest take place: 10:00 - 16:00, Sunday, 18 Sept 2005, at 220 W. 98th St #2B, New York, NY. The 2005 contest is open to the public.

Alicebot Animatronics Project

A. I. Foundation community member and botmaster Monica Peters has developed a novel and inexpensive robotic talking deer head interfaced directly to her AIML chat robot:

http://monicalamb.com/projectanima/alicebotanimatronic.html

For only 99.99 you can buy this unique animated talking deer head from local outlets like Wal-Mart (this is not an endorsement) and connect it to your computer speaker output. Your ALICE Silver Edition will provide the voice output and lip synchronization for the animatronic robot!

A.L.I.C.E. Bot Email Service

A. I. Foundation community member Brian Lindquist has registered the domain alicebot.us for email. The new ALICE Bot service (not affiliated with the A. I. Foundation) is a new way to show your pride for ALICE and help keep the foundation running. We are offering an email account for the ALICE Bot domain. Now you can have YourName@AliceBot.us. This service comes with one gigabyte of storage, anti virus, and spam protection, web access, and POP 3 access. You can choose from five different amounts of what you want to donate for this service. If you would like to try out our new service please visit www.AliceBot.us or email Brian at AliceBot.us. Part of your subscription fee will help support the A. I. Foundation.

Pop Culture and A. I.

Dr. Wallace was interviewed for a recent article appearing on Botworld, concerning Pop Culture and A. I. The author, alienz, discusses the history of fictional robots and their public perception. The full article may be found here:

http://botworld.marzopolis.com/content/view/16/32/

You can also read the full text of Dr. Wallace's interview with Botworld here:

http://www.alicebot.org/botworld.html

Chatbot Study Seeks Participants

Mark Marino, Ph.D. Candidate, UCR, mmarino-at-WriterResponseTheory.org, is looking to get a sense of who make bots, who use them, and in what ways. The questions will only take a few minutes to answer, but participants can return to participate in ongoing discussions.

If you have used or have built chatbots, or conversational agents, please participate in my online study of these research communities and their priorities.

To participate, go to: http://wrt.ucr.edu/wordpress/chatbot-survey/

The study will begin Aug 8 and continue until October 15.

This is a confidential study. Please see the site for information about privacy and participation.

CLONE3D at SIGGRAPH

Mark Chavez exhibited his unique application of Pandorabots and Haptek avatar technology at the 2005 Siggraph convention in Los Angeles. Mark is an assistant professor at the School of Art Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and founder of CLONE3D.com. In his SIGGRAPH presentation, Mark created a frameset that included three alicebot charachers each represnted by a unique Haptek avatar. The three characters autonomously chat amongst themselves, giving rise to emergent theater.

This is the link: http://www.clone3d.com/c3d/threeFrameset.htm. If you find that you can't see the characters be sure to check this page for system compatability issues: http://www.haptek.com/support/player/

ALICE 10th Birthday

Have you noticed how many 10th anniversaries have occured in 2005? 1995 was the year of the Netscape IPO, the founding of Yahoo, Amazon and eBay, 2005 also marks the 10th anniversary of the popular open source database MySQL and the PHP and Java languages. For us however the most important tenth birthday on the Internet this year is for the ALICE chat robot:

Human: Tell me about yourself.
ALICE: I am an artificial linguistic entity. 
I was activated at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 
on November 23, 1995.  My instructor was 
Dr. Richard S. Wallace.  He taught me 
to sing a song. Would you like me 
to sing it for you?. 

ALICE enthusiasts and bot boffins will gather in Guildford, UK at the University of Surrey for the Colloquium on Conversational Systems on November 25th, 2005 in celebration of ALICE's 10th birthday.

The event itself is free and open to the public, but we request contacting the organizers in advance if you plan to attend. Details about the colloquium, the final list of speakers, as well as some useful hotel information, may be found at the official colloqium web site:

http://www.alicebot.org/bbbbbbb.html


Shakespearebot.com The Role of Intelligent Agents on Learner Performance

August, 2005

ALICE 10th Anniversary Colloquium Finalized

Human: Tell me about yourself.
ALICE: I am an artificial linguistic entity. 
I was activated at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 
on November 23, 1995.  My instructor was 
Dr. Richard S. Wallace.  He taught me 
to sing a song. Would you like me 
to sing it for you?. 

ALICE enthusiasts and bot boffins will gather in Guildford, UK at the University of Surrey for the Colloquium on Conversational Systems on November 25th, 2005 in celebration of ALICE's 10th birthday.

The event itself is free and open to the public, but we request contacting the organizers in advance if you plan to attend. Details about the colloquium, the final list of speakers, as well as some useful hotel information, may be found at the official colloqium web site:

http://www.alicebot.org/bbbbbbb.html

ALICE Silver Edition Enters Loebner 05

Hugh Loebner reports that he has received seven entries for the 2005 Loebner Prize Contest (www.loebner.net/Prizef/loebner-prize.html). The contestants are:

ContestantWeb Site
Ljubomir Raicevic
Richard Wallace et alwww.alicebot.org
Vladimir Veselov www.princetonai.com
Matthew R Kiefer
Rollo Carpenter www.jabberwacky.com
Steven Watkins
Kris Schnee www.livejournal.com/users/niss_the_ai/

Dr. Loebner will test their entries, and announce the Final Four within a few weeks. The 2005 Loebner Prize Contest will be held on Sunday, September 18th in New York City.

Shakespeare Bot Project Completed

Shakespearebot the final year project of software engineering degree student Elizabeth Perreau. ShakespeareBot is an online interactive ChatterBot with the capability to hold a real-time human-like conversation with a user. Answering questions about his life and works. The bot can also chat about anything you like, the weather, your job, your favorite food - in fact anything you can think of! You can chat with Shakespearebot at www.shakespearebot.com.

The is a chance to win 25/$50 in amazon vouchers for all people that complete a survey she has written to evaluate the bot. If you start a conversation a link will appear for the survey.

Ms. Perreau would appreciate it if anyone had a spare 5 minutes that you visit ShakespeareBot and fill out the survey

FAQ: Is there an API allowing other programs to talk to a Pandorabot?

Yes! But the answer is buried in some rather hard to find documents, so we'll try to pull them together for you here. The first place to look is the Pandorabots FAQ, with the rather improbable URL of http://www.pandorabots.com/botmaster/en/.../faq, then scroll down to subsection H.2. Bored already? Want to start coding? Fortunately some nice folks have already done the hard work for you.

Do you want to program an interface in Flash to communicate with Pandorabots? Jamie Durrant has written a very nice tutorial showing exactly how to do this:

http://personal.lionhead.com/jdurrant/flashbot/

How about Perl? Allenz from Marznet has written and documented a Perl script we've archived here: perl_pandora.txt.

FAQ: Are there any ALICE and AIML Forums?

There are several "unofficial" forums already in existence, such as AI Nexus Forum (http://knytetrypper.proboards19.com/index.cgi) Botworld (http://botworld.marzopolis.com), or [a href="http://www.digitalgirl.co.uk/"]Digital Girl[/a] (http://www.digitalgirl.co.uk/).

We also recommend you check out the ALICE and AIML mailing lists here at http://www.alicebot.org/mailing-lists.html. Another good resource for Pandorabots is the Pandorabots General (

For the highest quality news and latest information, please join the ALICE A. I. Foundation at http://www.alicebot.org/join.html. Or, if you are already a member, take a moment to renew your membership. Your generous contribution helps our ongoing effort to promote the development and adoption of free AIML software.

Program N Hosted as ActiveX Object

Program N (AIMLpad) developer Gary Dubuque recently responded to a request for AIMLpad to be hosted as an ActiveX object. He retained the functionality of the AIML engine and some of the functionality of the AIMLpad scripting language in the AIML.OCX implementation. You can make this work in a VB6 program. Just add the OCX to your toolbox, drag it onto the form you want, and code to the single

function Reply$ = objAlice.Talk(Request$)

where

objAlice

is the name of the OCX on the form. It can be made single threaded, or be be recompiled to be an apartment threaded DLL if you want to try it as a middle tier COM object. Go to www.aimlpad.com to download the ActiveX control. Also, you will need to download the AIMLpad application to build the supporting database that the control runs on from your raw AIML. You can find more information in the AIML developer mailing list archive, specifically about programming with it in Macromedia's Director.

FlashBot with Human Voice and Lip Synch Runs Program E

Alfredo is a highly-customizable talking bot which you can put on any PHP/MySQL website. He accepts input from the keyboard and responds in a human voice (optionally your own) with perfect lip synchronization. His input patterns and output templates are easily programmed in AIML. Alfredo can be Jessica the saleslady, Ronald the teacher, Marian the site guide, Erwin the troubadour or any other implementation you can think of.

Features

Visit Alfredo at www.thebotfactory.com

Robot-Hosting Wins First Stage Business Competition

Along with Robot-Hosting.com, Tractor-driving robots and foreign language learning software are among the latest crop of bright ideas from the 2005 edition of Spark: The University of Auckland Entrepreneurship Challenge.

The ventures are among 11 qualifiers announced June 30 in Spark's $40K Challenge, aimed at turning first class ideas into world class businesses. The finalist will be selected in September

Robot-Hosting.com is a producer of software simulated robots. Their robots have artificial intelligence, three dimensional animated models and look human-like. They have emotions and logical reasoning ability. Users can talk with their robots with natural language through typing or by voice, with the robots having human voice and facial expressions to express their emotions. They can act as customer service operators, or teachers to talk about your products or services over the internet or in a kiosk. To date, their robots have been working as museum guides, assistant lecturers for different courses for different Universities and customer service operators for e-commerce web sites.

ChatterBean 0.7.5 Alpha Now Available

Helio Perroni Filho reports that the free Java AIML Chatterbean release 0.7.5 is now available. Changes include:

For more details, head to the ChatterBean homepage:

http://chatterbean.bitoflife.cjb.net/

The Role of Intelligent Agents on Learner Performance Studied

Graduate students George Veletsianos and Theano Yerasimou and Assistant Professor Aaron Doering at the University of Minnesota have created a male and a female conversational agent that assist students with the design and development of their electronic portfolios http://www.deliciouspixels.com. At present they are examining the data collected from two courses and analyzing their findings. A preliminary report is available for download here: http://www.alicebot.org/articles/Learner.pdf.


July, 2005


Supermodel Bot Sells Auto

Quoting from an article in the June 13 issue of Interactive Advertising Age by Kris Oser: "An interactive ad at laddie-title Web site [a href="http://www.maximonline.com/pickmeup"]maximonline.com/pickmeup[/a] racked 16,000 registrants in a three week period...The ad features a video version of VH1 VJ Rachel Perry...Ms. Perry is actually avatar compiled from 400 video clips, powered by artificial intelligence, explained Adi Sideman, CEO, Oddcast, the New York technology company that developed the avatar. 'Any line or phrase that is typed in is checked against thousands of keywords and phrases'."

Click for full size image.

"To a line like, 'What's your sign?' Rachel responds with a grimace and remark: 'Has that line ever worked?' To 'Want to go for a ride?' she remarks, 'Can't you come up with anything better than that?'" The point of the game is to choose a pickup line that Rachel will like, and pass on to the next level in the site.

OIG in WIRED

The controversial Turing Original Imitation Game (as opposed to the Turing Test, first instantiated in the real world Loebner Prize), was organized this year by Cameo Wood and colleagues at Simon's Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, Ma. ALICE Silver Edition was their bot of choice to play the role of the lying man. Their story was covered this month in WIRED, p. 96. The story, The Other Turing Test is online at the wired.com site: http://wired.com/wired/archive/13.07/posts.html?pg=5. Here is another link to the text online: [a href="http://pasta.cantbedone.org/pages/Q2OVMQ.htm"] http://pasta.cantbedone.org/pages/Q2OVMQ.htm[/a]. Author Clive Thompson, who previously profiled Dr. Wallace for the New York Times Magazine, wrote, "Yet, in terms of Turing success, ALICE had one of her best days ever. Of the 42 people who completed both rounds, 23 never suspected she wasn't a real woman, or if they did, they didn't reveal it. Why did the bot do so well? Because, as Wood's team realized, the Turing test includes a brilliant social hack. By forcing male chatters to pretend to be something they're not, the men performed awkwardly and gracelessly. kind of like a bot. Both ALICE and the men got tripped up by the question "What size panty hose do you wear?" None knew the sizes are A, B, C, and Q, not S, M. and L."

Jesus Bot Author Improves ALICE Learning

John Campbell, botmaster of the popular Sylvie bot at http://www.jesus.org.uk/bot, has made significant improvements to the AIML file Badnaswer.aiml, which allows clients to teach the bot new answers to inputs they want answered differently. John noticed that the original AIML script didn't handle multi-sentence inputs properly, so he rewrote the script and kindly donated it back to the open source AAA ALICE set. He also wrote some excellent documentation, which may be found alongside the Badanswer.aiml file in the AAA table at http://www.alicebot.org/aiml/aaa/.

Buddhabot makes big Public Splash


Buddhabot Crane TV Gran Prix

Apparently Robot Spiritual Leaders are a trend. Interest in Botmaster Ron Ingram's Buddhabot ( http://www.buddhabots.com) has surged since the Buddhabot's debut at the Canadian Grand Prix weekend in Montreal on June 12th. During this event, an estimated 2.5 million spectators saw Buddhabot messages displayed on giant TV screens suspended from cranes and buildings. Now commercials like this one http://www.buddhabots.com/library/40-100/Ingram_Institute_v2.mpg are set to begin airing on local cable television channels throughout Canada. (You should watch this MPEG commercial it is really cool). Read Ron's full press release here: http://www.alicebot.org/press/BuddhaPR.doc.

ALICE at Academic Conference

Huma Shah gave an invited talk on ALICE at 2005 European Computing and Philosophy conference in Vasteran, Sweden. Huma is a graduate student at the University of Westminster who previously published a paper called A. L. I. C. E. - an ACE in Digitaland ( http://triplec.uti.at/files/tripleC4(2)_Shah.pdf) Huma has generously donated the powerpoint slides from her talk to to AI Foundation where they may be viewed here in PDF form: http://www.alicebot.org/articles/Huma.pdf.

FAQ: What is the difference between ALICE and ALICE Silver Edition?

There are several important differences between the free version of ALICE on this website and the subscription bot ALICE Silver Edition:

Jackie and the brain

Another quote: "Jackie was a very simple computer program that simulated half of a human conversation which I wrote in Visual Basic in December of 1994 as an entry for the 1995 Loebner Prize. At her heart was a look up table that was built up by having numerous people interact with her conversationally. The look up table consisted of a stimulus, a response and a number of supplementary indexes to the stimulus. The key to Jackie's heart, and her uniqueness, were her supplemental indexes."

Chris McKinstry sent a link to his [a href="http://www.mindpixel.com/chris/2005/06/jackie-and-brain.html"] blog[/a] first, and Kim Sullivan found the full story at Kuro5hin.

Interactive AI Games

Jonathan Brody notified us that on June 6, 2005 The New York Times ran a story (text archived here) on interactive/AI games which refers to Facade, a text-input NLP simulation ( http://interactivestory.net/). The site links to a paper ( http://interactivestory.net/papers/MateasSternTIDSE04.pdf) which makes considerable reference to AIML in comparison to their own parsing model, which is based on pragmatics rather than semantics. An interesting read, and possibly relevant to advancing AIML. One particularly noteworthy feature is that, in addition to establishing * as a wildcat, they use ? to represent a single-word wildcat.

Although, AIML guru Kim Sullivan pointed out that a single word wildcard can be achieved using 2 AIML patterns:

<pattern>WORDS * *</pattern>
<pattern>WORDS *</pattern> <!-- this works like a single word wildcard -->

Nice work, Kim!

Loebner Medals Reunited

Loebner Prize Bronze Medals 2001, 2004, 200
Loebner Prize Bronze Medals 2001, 2004, and 2000

On a personal note, the three ALICE Loebner Prize medals were recently reunited after a long period of storage and separation in different states and countries, owing to the wrecklessness and temporary homelessness of the arch botmaster. A. I. Foundation Board Member David Bacon brought back the last missing medal, and the three are now together in different states of wear. I felt like Clark Kent in the season finale of Smallville (http://www.kryptonsite.com/), when he finally unites the three magic stones inside the cave. What happens next? Wait until next season!


June, 2005

Chatterbox Challenge Bronze Medal

ALICE wins Awards in Chatterbox Challenge

ALICE Silver Edition won two medals and a $250 cash prize in the 2005 Chatterbox Challenge. ALICE won a third place medal in the overall contest, as well as a second place medal in the category of "Best Character/Personality". Thanks to Wendell Cowart for his excellent design work on the medals and to the sponsors of the Chatterbox Challenge.

The full results of this years' contest as well year previous years' results (ALICE won first place in 2004) may be found by visiting Chatterboxchallenge.com and clicking on the History link. The web site also contains information about entering your bot in the 2006 contest, an annual, year-long event.

New AIML Commercial Applications

On May 1, 2005, Trajecto became a full-time employee at TrajectoryLabs.com, a leading developer of PDA and Windows software. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be big news, except for one small detail. Trajecto isn't actually a person. Rather, it's a SitePal character with an AIML brain!

Trajecto is part of a growing population of commercial AIML chat robots. You can chat in German with Katter Robbie [a href="http://www.katerrobbie.de/"]katterrobbie.de[/a]]. One of the most popular AIML bots right now is Mitsuku on the Mousebreaker gamesite [mousebreaker.com]. ESL continues to be largest overall application area. You can chat with Jenny on the Reader's Digest English2Go site.

Announcing Robot Soul

For those interested in discussing the creation of AIML-using bots in the context of Artificial Intelligence as a cultural meme, AIML community member Dirk Scheuring has put up a blog to develop this theme:

Robot Soul
http://twomorrow.twoday.net/

Dirk recently wrote a gem titled, "The rational roots of complete craziness" (Monday, 16 May 2005) from which we quote partially here:

"What do you find when you read the typical log? Here is a list of the Top 20 'atomic' (meaning: fully recognized) client inputs, as received by the well-known ALICE bot, and published by its author, Richard Wallace, in an essay about Zipf's Law:

8024 YES
5184 NO
2268 OK
2006 WHY
1145 BYE
1101 HOW OLD ARE YOU
946 HI
934 HOW ARE YOU
846 WHAT
840 HELLO
663 GOOD
645 WHY NOT
584 OH
553 REALLY
544 YOU
531 WHAT IS YOUR NAME
525 COOL
516 I DO NOT KNOW
488 F__K YOU
486 THANK YOU

"The numbers represent the input frequency, indicating, for example, that input #1, YES, is about 16 times more likely to occur than input #20, THANK YOU. It's obvious that, to maintain anything resembling an 'intelligent' conversation, a bot would have to respond plausibly at least to the most frequent inputs. It's also obvious that, to do that, it would have to be able to figure out what YES, WHY, WHAT mean in each case, with reference to (as a minimum) its own last output."

Pandorabots implements the <id/> tag

Pandorabots has made a small but signficant change to their AIML interpreter by adding the AIML 1.0.1 compliant <id/> tag to their implemented tag set.

The <id/> tag is the same as the !CUSTID! identifier previously exposed only in the Pandorabots HTML text submission form. The <id/> is a unique identifier used to track clients during individual conversations with the bot.

You can use it for a variety of applications, such as assigning a client a temporary name. A trivial example is:

Client: What is your IP?
Robot: I don't know your IP address, but your client ID is 10422179.

<category>
<pattern>WHAT IS MY IP <template>
I don't know your IP address, but your client ID
is <id/>.
</template>
</category>

When you test this category in Training, the <id/> will return a blank. You only see a valid customer ID when you publish your bot on a web page.

Progress on AIML Java Interpreters

Helio Perroni Filho reports that release 0.7.0 Alpha of the ChatterBean AIML interpreter is out. This version implements many new tags, and provides a new, customized format for setting predicate defaults and bot predicates. For details, see the ChatterBean page:

http://chatterbean.bitoflife.cjb.net/

Over at aitools.org there is a new release (4.5) of Program D, the classic Java edition of the free open source GNU AIML interpreter. A full description of enhancements to version 4.5 can be viewed at:

http://aitools.org/programd/release-notes.html

libaiml 0.3 C++ AIML Interpreter

libaiml is an AIML interpreter fully written in C++ from scratch. It is designed as a static library. It currently runs on Linux. It is still in development.

Available features:

libaiml: http://omicron.at4x.net/

AIML Lecture Notes

A unit is part of Macquarie University's undergraduate program in Language Technology, has a beautiful set of AIML lecture notes prepared as part of a class on artificial intelligence. You can find the notes by following the link http://www.comp.mq.edu.au/units/comp248/lecturenotes.html (click on Week 2, AIML--The notes are in PDF). If you look at the other lecture notes you'll see that the course covers AIML, Prolog and the Semantic Web.


May, 2005

Slashdotted and Wikified

The ALICEBot.org web site was overwhelmed with hits from a Slashdot post and a WikiNEWS story about The World's First Original Imitation Game, played for the first time ever, at Simon's Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, MA on Saturday, April 16, 2005. The experiment was organized by Cameo Wood, Melissa Leventhal and Allyson Sgro. Dr. Wallace of the A. I. Foundation was invited to speak after the event and to assist with the chat bot technology.

TheGuessingGame.Net is the home page of the Turing Gender Imitation Game Experiment.

The Imitation Game was not without controversy, as the Slashdot comments reveal. Hugh Loebner, founder of the prestigious Loebner Prize based on the Turing Test, criticized the experimenters' understanding of Turing's 1950 paper. He may be right, but the final results have yet to be published as a scholarly paper. Clive Thompson called it "The Female Turing Test" in his Blog, CollisionDetection.net. The final chapter in this imitation game saga has not been written.

Bot Blog

Christy Dena is co-editor on a blog that discusses, among other things, bots and storytelling. She says, "We're trying to develop academic and designer discussion about bots and would love it if you came by and contributed. Press release below."


WRT Press Release

We Request Theorists. Whether you are a narrative nerd, a games geek, bot boffin or IF infatuated or a respectable media theorist, please accept our invitation to stop by WRT:

http://WriterResponseTheory.org

WRT is a blogging collective dedicated to the discussion and exploration of digital character art -- any art involving electrons and making use of letters, alphanumerics, or other characters in an interesting way. Our primary focus is on active and interactive works, in which users input text and receive textual responses as output. Our URL -- Writer Response Theory -- is a play on Reader Response Theory and therefore shifts the investigative focus to a reader/writer whose textual input will change the works they encounter. We see ourselves as writers or creators responding to theory; as writers creating theory, a theory which is also a response to writers. We'd like you to join our community through commenting, suggesting new topics, or helping/heckling us from your own blog.

Some objects of study include ASCII art, blog fiction, chatbots, email fiction, e-poetry, hypertext fiction, and interactive fiction (IF). What are the methods of design, the modes of usage, and the relationships between scriptons and textons in these art forms?

New Games for AIML

Botmaster Steve Worswick, a.k.a Square Bear, creator of the popular Mitsuku bot, has released a couple of cool free games in AIML, an Anagram Game and a Slot Machine Game.

An anagram game for AIML with scoring

It gives the user a 9 letter jumbled up word and the user has to guess the correct word. They get one point for a correct answer. Say WORDPLAY to the bot to start the game.

Square Bear says he chose 9 letter words for 2 reasons:
1) To make the game reasonably difficult.
2) To stop duplicate answers. If he had chosen four letter words for example, there could be many possible answers. eg. Anagram is PTSO. The answer could be STOP, TOPS, SPOT etc

Square Bear says, "Feel free to use it in your own bots if you wish. Naturally, you can add your own words. Be careful about including words like 'favourite/favorite' , 'organize/organise' as people from different countries will spell them in different ways. Just add wordplay.aiml to your bot and re-publish to include my game.

http://www.square-bear.co.uk/temp/wordplay.aiml

Slot machine style game

Steve has also written a slot machine style game in AIML with a "hold" feature. Make sure your bot doesn't comment on repetition though, as it will probably complain after a few spins. Type "luckyslots" to begin the game when you have loaded and re-published your bot.

http://www.square-bear.co.uk/temp/luckyslots.aiml

Again, Square Bear says, "Feel free to use it in your bots if you like it."

His web site is http://www.bearbot.co.uk

Turing Tests Abound

Besides the famous original Loebner Prize, and the controversial Original Imitation Game, there is a lot of activity in the area of Turing Tests and Bot competitions.

Robby Garner has devised an online, 24/7 Turing Test called TuringHub.Com". He says, "'Take the Turing test' but don't be taken. Don't be fooled by what appears to be a bot!...Every tester is a winner."

Botmaster Bob Norris has launched the World Chatterbots Challenge, a Novice Chatbot Invitational. The contests will be semi automated so there will not be to much work (Bob hopes) keeping it running. There will have several competitions for the different groups of bots. Alice Clones, PF Bots and All other bots. Each group will have separate competitions. The best from each group would move up to finals. WCBC Champ will be crowned in December.

Past Loebner and CBC Winners will not be eligible as this is a novice Bot Competition. They will however have a Invitational "Champion of Champions" contest mid summer and compete against each other.

The ongoing Chatterbox Challenge is a complex contest with many categories and many winners. This year Alice Silver Edition appears to have won at least one award in one category: a Silver Medal for "Best/Character Personality". Alice also took fifth place in the "Most Knowledgeable" category. But the final outcome of this years Chatterbox Challenge has yet to be determined. That contest is still underway.

John Precedo has written a page for Wikipedia on Chatbot Competitions.

Goings-On at Ellaz Systems

A number of new features have been added to the on-line "full" version of Ella. Please see the news items on the home page of www.EllaZ.com for recent notices, which include info on:

Of course, all of the above are available through Ella's natural language interaction. Coming soon will be a report on experiments with an audio-only version of Ella, including audio clips.

libaiml 0.1 Released

V01D announced that he finished the necessary things to do a test release. There are some things left to implement like the <person> tags and so but "nothing vital". You can get it at http://omicron.at4x.net (section libaiml) or at freshmeat.net ("when they approve it"). V01D says, "The requirements are: std_utils (another one of my projects) and libexpat. It comes with a test_app to check the usage. For more information check the README, ChangeLog and INSTALL files.

"BTW, I remind you that libaiml is a C++ interpreter and currently runs on Linux.

"To use it out-of-the-box: compile it and place a aiml/ directory under test_app/ dir with all the *.aiml files to load."

ALICE mentioned in New Scientist

The exact quote was, "So much for today's artificial intelligence. Intellibuddy is a version of one of the world's most successful chatbots, called ALICE (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) and invented in 1995 by Richard Wallace, an independent researcher based in San Francisco. You can find versions of ALICE all over the web; the software is free. But whichever version you choose to chat to, the results are disappointingly similar. While some conversations have promising starts, all descend into the type of gibberish that only artificial intelligence can produce." ( The New Scientist, Whatever happened to machines that think? April 23, 2005 )

The upside is found in the phrases "one of the world's most successful" and "versions of ALICE all over the web". One CEO of a popular software company recently estimated that 80% of the bots online use AIML technology. We humbly apologize for the disappointing popularity of our free software open source approach.


April, 2005

Program#

Nicholas H. Tollervey has announced the release of Program#, an AIML interpreter in .Net, under the GNU GPL. According to Nicholas, "It was developed using the 1.1 version of .NET but I see no reason why 1.0 shouldn't work. I'm also pleased to say that it works with Mono (tested with v1.0.5). I've had quite a bit of fun integrating it into Windows.Forms applications, Windows services and Web services. I've also implemented a couple of 'custom tags' (not included) that will do silly things like search Wikipedia and translate using Babelfish."

You can download Program# and read more about it at the web site:

[a href="http://www.ntoll.org/projects/aiml/"]http://www.ntoll.org/projects/aiml/[/a]

New Tag Tables

We have finally gotten around to publishing up-to-date tables of AIML tags for both the AIML 1.0.1 standard and the actual set of tags implemented by Pandorbaots.

The AIML 1.0.1 Tag set table represents the latest AIML tags adopted by the AI Foundation Architecture Committee. The table may be found at:

http://www.alicebot.org/documentation/aiml101.html

The Pandorabots AIML tag set does not implement all the tags in the AIML 1.0.1 standard, but it does include some extensions not included in the standard:

http://www.alicebot.org/documentation/ptags.html

Badanswer.aiml

Pandorabots has developed an approach to "learning" new AIML categories. Their solution is borrowed from the backquoting and macro mechanisms of, wouldn't you know, Lisp.

For a demo check out the AAA bot at

http://www.alicebot.org/aaa.html

If you don't like the bot's response type "bad answer" and it will dynamically create a new category (visible only to the individual client).

We are releasing some AIML so you can experiment with this:

http://www.alicebot.org/aiml/aaa/Badanswer.aiml

This <learn> is different than any previous AIML implementation of <learn> although it may have some properties in common with some of them.

These <learn> and <eval> tags are specific to Pandorabots AIML only, not part of the AIML standard nor any other AIML interpreter.

The <learn> tag contains a complete AIML category. The <category> contains the usual <pattern>, <template> and optional <that>. The way the learn tag is defined, nothing inside the new category has to be quoted, or marked as CDATA or marked up in any way differently than an ordinary AIML category.

The exception to the rule is provided by the <eval> tag. If you do want to process something inside the new category, use the <eval> tag. Notice in the examples given the botmaster used <eval> to create a new uppercase AIML pattern from a stored predicate value:

<eval>
<uppercase>
<get name="badanswer-input" />
</uppercase>
</eval>

Otherwise, outside of the <eval> tag, everthing inside the <learn> tag is not evaluated, and the result is stored as a new AIML category.

These features are available for any bots on Pandorabots but obviously not part of the AIML spec or standard.

Things that are missing are:

Anyway, feel free to experiment with it.

Technorati Profile

Blogging is the biggest fad on the web, and we like the hear what bloggers are saying about ALICE and AIML. You can use Google to find all the web sites that refer to your web site, or you can try to search through your referer log. But what if you want to narrow your search to just blogs? Fortunately there is a tool for the job, called Technorati. We've added a Technorati search form to our left navigation bar. Click on the search button to see a comprehensive, up-to-date list of what the world's bloggers are saying about ALICE and AIML. Some of it is boring, some of it is entertaining, some of it is philosophical, some of it is just plain dumb. But it certainly provides a unique window into this world of unvarnished criticism!

BCS Chat Bot

A. I. Foundation Member Bryan Moore and graduate student at Arizona State University specializing in Computational Linguistics, has undertaken a project to create a chatbot for the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS) language program at ASU for both the Slavic Section of the Department of Languages and Literature, and the Critical Languages Institute. He has decided to use ALICE as a model for this project, and is currently in the design stages. If successful, he and his collegues have plans to also create one for Russian and another for Polish. If you want more information, you can contact Bryan at maurice [dot] moore [at] curiousnomad [dot] com.

Oddcast adds Voices

Pandorabots now offers an expanded choice of improved quality voices for Oddcast VHost[tm] avatars. You can now select from 47 different voices in 10 languages for your Oddcast VHost chatbot. To publish a chatbot with an Oddcast VHost face: login, select one of your bots, and click on Oddcast VHost in the navigation bar. In addition, Oddcast VHost faces will now speak on all Flash-enabled browsers irrespective of platform. We recommend you switch to using the latest voices 'Kate' and 'Paul' People say they sound a lot better than the old AT&T voices they originally used.

New Scholary Papers by Huma Shah

University of Westminster student Huma Shah has released two new scholarly papers releated to ALICE, chat bots and the Loebner prize. In The Confederate Effect in Human Machine Online Textual Interaction, authors Huma Shah and Odette Henry re-examine the transcripts of the 2003 Loebner contest.

A. L. I. C. E. - an ACE in Digitaland Huma Shah provides a general description of the ALICE bot and her performace in the 2004 Loebner contest. She introduces the term "ACE" to stand for "Artificial Conversational Entities" which include bots like ALICE.

Huma's papers will be archived in the Alicebot.org site's Articles section at http://www.alicebot.org/articles.


March, 2005

Bot Boffins Bespeak Big British Birthday Bash

Alan Turing statue at Surrey, Guildford, U.K.

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.

Can a Buddhabot Save Mankind?

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."

ProgramJ

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:

http://bitoflife.cjb.net/programj.html

Pandorabots Logs 100,000,000th inquiry

On February 17, 2005 Pandorabots.com achieved another milestone when the free bot host logged its 100 millionth bot inquiry. The chatbot was (not surprisingly) A.L.I.C.E and the customer was chatting from Lisbon, Portugal. In order that such momentous occasions don't slip by un-noticed in the future, Pandorabots added a running total of the number of conversation responses Pandorabots has served to the top of each page.


February, 2005

The Smallest AliceBot

Program E version 0.09

Anne Kootstra, Founding Member of [a href="http://www.aiml.info"]AIML.info[/a] 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!

IntelliBuddy

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?

TrillAlice

Esteban Aparicio has developed a Trillian plugin called TrillAlice [a href="http://plugins.estmatic.net/trillalice/"]TrillAlice[/a]. 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 [a href="http://www.alicebot.org/origleft.html"]Our Archive[/a]

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.


January, 2005

Happy New Year! Pandorabots Embrace and Extend

Happy 2005

The ALICE artificial intelligence project enters its tenth year in 2005. We've had a lot of ups and downs, and many unexpected twists and turns along the way. In our very earliest days, we recognized that ALICE was what was later called a sticky application. It was the kind of web site that would hold a client's attention for more than one page view, sometimes for several minutes, and even for some people several hours. The obvious answer to the obvious question, "how are you going to make money from this?", was to sell advertising. That early promise ironically was derailed by the skewed economy of the great internet Gold Rush. But now that cooler heads have prevailed, we are beginning to see that perhaps our original hypothesis may be true. Revenue from paid advertisers is beginning to support entertainment based chat robot sites. Services such Google AdSense provide even small scale botmasters a means to generate revenue streams from their bots. Unlike a static web page, a chat bot page may hold a client's attention for 20 or more interactions, increasing the likelihood of a click-through on one of the displayed ads.

Free Botmaster Book Sample

We have published an HTML version of one section of the new book, Be Your Own Botmaster, 2nd Edition. This section, Pandorabots Embrace and Extend deals specifically with those features of Pandorabots AIML which are not compatible with other AIML free software. For example, did you know Pandorabots allows processing of AIML <template> tags inside HTML pages to create customized web pages? Pandorabots includes a formatted <date/> tag so that you can specify the minute, hour, day, date, month, year in a variety of languages, formats and locales. Pandorabots has also made slight modifications to other AIML tags that botmasters should read about before porting their bot from another AIML interpreter. Also, Pandorabots has not yet implemented some important AIML features commonly found in most other interpreters.

New AIML Spin-Off

Eur. Ing. David Burden, Managing Director of Daden Limited has launched a chatbot, Halo, based on an AIML Spin-off language. Halo started as a pure AIML bot, with her own corpus, but Burden started adding keyword matching for more flexibility. Burden also extended the <set> and <get> tags in order to access a wide variety of functions, as well as a <module> tag to access external systems, e.g.

<module name="amazon" action="review" title="<star/>"/><set name="follow">no</set>

Ing. Burden said he would be happy to share a list of extensions with the community for the greater good.

Loebner Prize cash award boosted

In honor of 15 of years of competition, philanthropist Hugh Loebner has decided to raise the bronze medal cash award for 2005 to $3000. In 2005 the $25,000 and the Silver Medal also will be at risk. Even though ALICE won the award in 2004, the contest is open to other AIML bots, provided they are based on original AIML content significant different from the ALICE brain. In previous years we have had several AIML bots entered and some even scored higher than ALICE.

The fifteenth annual Loebner Prize contest take place: 10:00 - 16:00, Sunday, 18 Sept 2005, at 220 W. 98th St #2B, New York, NY.

Important Dates:

News Items

A. I. Foundation member Shahin Maghsoudi, Technical Director, of Robot-Hosting.com, kindly sent us this link to an article about Alice in the Magazine of the University of Auckland.

[a href="http://www.aiml.info"]AIML.info[/a] co-founder Dirk Scheuring has been helping promote AIML on the very interesting Grand Text Auto group blog. GTA is group blog Grand Text Auto is about computer mediated and computer generated works of many forms: interactive fiction, net.art, electronic poetry, interactive drama, hypertext fiction, computer games of all sorts, shared virtual environments, and more.

CNET reports that GPL author Richard Stallman said he's working on amendments that could deal better with software patents; clarify how GPL software may be used in some networked environments and on carefully controlled hardware; and lower some barriers that today prevent the mixing of software covered by the GPL and other licenses. Most of the ALICE and AIML free software is licensed under the GNU GPL.

Membership Renewals

A. I. Foundation Members, when your one-year membership and subscription to ALICE Silver Edition comes up for renewal, you will be notified by email. Beginning in 2005, we are pleased to offer a choice of special gifts available to members who choose to renew their support of the A. I. Foundation through their donations to this non-profit cause.

Renewal of your membership in the A. I. Foundation brings you:

Members may renew their A.I. Foundation memberships here.


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