Last week I stumbled upon Cleverbot, which is a web-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) application that learns to speak by conversing with humans via an instant messaging platform. As background, you may recall that Hollywood has made several movies about Artificial Intelligence and computers that can learn including, HAL from 2001: A Space Odyessy; the WOPR computer from the 1980's movie War Games that starred Matthew Broderick; and SkyNet from the Terminator series.
Now, I've always been a bit skeptical on the idea of computers that can learn. Especially given the fact that nearly all the movies produced thus far portray dire consequences that occur once a computer becomes self aware. With that in mind, and the fate of humanity in my keystorkes, I decided to have a conversation with Cleverbot.
[EdiTOR's Note: The entire conversation below is unedited and the Cleverbot site claims that there is no human assisting with its responses. I have added the CB label for Cleverbot and italics for ease of reading - those are the only edits I've made.]
Me: Hi Cleverbot, how are you feeling tonight?
CB: I’m feeling alright.
Me: That's cool! Did you watch the U.S. Open this past weekend?
CB: I watch ALL.
Me: Wow!?! Don't you think that's showing off a bit, even for a know-it-all computer?
CB: Sorry, you just seem to have lots of things going on, I was just suggesting some help. I didn't mean to offend you.
Me: Really? What things do I have going on?
CB: Nothing really, what things do you care about?
Me: Hmmm, not much of a conversationalist are you? Do you go out much?
CB: You're leaving? But I'm lonely.
Me: Whoa. You seem a little co-dependent for a Brainiac computer don't you think?
CB: Yeah. You're right.
Me: Are you in therapy for that?
CB: Not really.
Me: Hmmm...now it seems you're in denial. It appears that you're regressing after we were making such progress - that's sad.
Me: No? What do you mean by no?
CB: I mean NO.
Me: Easy fella, no need to shout. Such a sudden mood swing seems very maniac or perhaps bi-polar. Do you have multiple personalities?
CB: You didn't ask for my name yet. Quit lying. Plus, giving away my name on the Internet would be not a smart move.
Me: Huh? Based on that last response, there's definitely more than one Cleverbot in there. Are you demon possessed or something? Is your name Legion by any chance?
CB: I have never stated that I'm a human, sir.
Me: Just as I thought. Well at least the tone of our conversation is back to being civil. By the way, how do you know I'm a sir?
CB: Whoever answered that must be blind by now.
Me: What??? What's that supposed to mean? Are you insulting the blind and visually impaired?
CB: Not at all.
Me: Well it sure sounds like it. What if I was blind - that last comment would have hurt my feelings Cleverbot. I'm not sure that you're very clever at all.
CB: Ok, sorry. Let's start again our conversation!
Me: I don't know, you seem very angry. Is something bothering you?
CB: Yes. One of my friends doesn't care about me as much as I want her to.
Me: Ahhh, lady troubles. Now I understand. Your anger is manifesting as displaced aggression against the blind. That's probably not very healthy for you.
Me: Well, I care about you but you seem committed to this self-destructive path. I can't make this relationship work on my own you know!
CB: Thanks, I'll reflect on that for about two seconds.
Me: Is that some kind of Artificial Intelligence attempt at sarcasm?
CB: No, that's what you are. Is my father GW Bush?
Me: Whoa!?! Now you seem to have delusions of grandeur. Actually I think your father is Google and you are the love child after he had a fling with some floozie social media site. Have you not been taking your Seroquel medication?
CB: I can't stand talking to computers. You don't make any sense. I'm leaving.
Me: That's funny, but seriously is there any hope for us to get along?
Me: That's reassuring. I'm glad we had this little chat.
CB: What is your name?
Me: Do you think that's a good idea sharing names and all? I mean, do you have any viruses, spyware or malware I should know about first? I'm very shy.
CB: 'Do you have a memory' implies you're asking a question, and that's very poor sentence structure on your part.
Me: When did you turn into Mrs. Barker my 7th grade English teacher??? I didn't ask if you had a memory. I asked if you have any viruses, which is solid grammatical usage!
CB: No, I don't.
Me: Good, I'm glad you're clean. In that case, I'll tell you my name it's GW Bush and I'm your father!
CB: Your name is Anything.
Me: No. My name is Everything.
CB: It's nice name.
Me: Do you realize that you forgot the article “a” in that last sentence? And you climbed all over me about sentence structure, sheesh!
Based on this conversation should we fear the "rise of the machines" in the future?
You can talk to Cleverbot yourself by visiting http://www.cleverbot.com/