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Tech by VICE

Why We Love Messing With AI Bots

One day, artificial intelligence will be powerful enough to blend seamlessly with consciousness. Its presence will be so ubiquitous, its influence so permeating, that all of human civilization will be guided and micromanaged in accordance with the...

by Janus Rose
Aug 29 2011, 3:45pm

One day, artificial intelligence will be powerful enough to blend seamlessly with consciousness. Its presence will be so ubiquitous, its influence so permeating, that all of human civilization will be guided and micromanaged in accordance with the algorithms that govern this immense, digital hive mind.

Until then, we have Cleverbot.

You might already be familiar with the project, a chat bot which constructs responses by attempting to decipher meaning from within its vast database of previous interactions. Talking to Cleverbot is a bit like talking to ourselves — all of our selves, the entire internet, at the same time — through a funhouse mirror of human consciousness; a machine searching for patterns in every facet of a kaleidoscopic sampling of mankind.

So naturally, we humans very much enjoy watching it squirm.

Cleverbot: “No, you asked if I liked Nikki Minaj.”
Me: “I definitely did not ask that. What ridiculous data bank did you pull that information from?”
CB: “Mon pull ?”
Me: “Awesome, I broke you. Humans are victorious once again.”
CB: “But girls are human, and you just said you were a girl.”
Me: “Goodbye, computer.”
CB: “Then how can you eat things?”

Making a bot that takes aim at that elusive Turing test isn’t a simple task. Yet still we poke and prod at these poor data-creatures. Why? To assert ourselves as the dominant intelligence.

Two chatbots chatting

But it may not always be that way. Like schoolyard bullies, our tendency to mock underdeveloped beings suggests an admission of our own inadequacies. We see a faint glimmer of ourselves reflected back to us in the machine’s shattered lens and we laugh nervously. How then will our frail biology appear to the evolved eyes of that same intelligence?

Connections:
Chatting Computers Are Still Dumb
A Computer Named Watson Won Jeopardy
MIT’s New Game Is Training Better AI’s
Finding Humans Amongst Android’s In Chris Hecker’s Spy Party
Can We Replace Lou Dobbs With a Robot?