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Talk to the Bot, the Face Isn't Listening
2000-08-19 15:44:28


Net Flotsam
 
I think I've learned everything I know worth knowing from "Quincy."
-- Mr. Bad

 

Wow! You know, using stupid instant messaging systems like AIM or ICQ has got to be the most inhuman and unresponsive means of communications ever invented by people. And just to show how amazingly inhuman it can be, somebody created AOLiza!

Here's the deal: the guy who runs fury.com happens to have a very common 4-letter AIM screen name. It's SUCH a common name that tons of random people send him messages asking if he's their friend Betty or seeing how the Toyota is running or whatnot.

It got totally frustrating for him, but he turned lemons into lemon meringue pie with a clever hack. He stopped using the handle for his own personal IM system, and instead hooked up an AIM BOT to the screen name instead! He first took a Perl version of the classic AI program "Eliza", which simulates a particularly annoying therapist-type person. He glued this into AIM with some AppleScript magic and VIOLA, AOLiza was born!

The AMAZING part is that the general level of intelligence of AIM users is sufficiently low that even with a low-grade AI program like Eliza, people can spend HOURS talking to a bot without recognizing its bot nature. Fury.com has assembled the logs for several of the best of these conversations, which are available at the link below. Beaujolais for AOLiza!

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

backdraft@pigdog.org


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