During one of my commutes home, and as is so often the case, I learned something new by listening to NPR. They were discussing Cleverbot, an artificial intelligence that was created to learn by conversing with humans. It only knows what it has been told by us. So, for example, the first thing ever said to it was “Hello.” So it could only respond, “Hello.” Then the person said, “How are you?” And it could then choose between “Hello” and “How are you?” as its response. And so on.
So it’s getting “smarter” by the minute, because now hundreds of thousands of people have conversed with it. I was wondering if I would be able to tell that I wasn’t talking to a person, so I decided to give it a shot. Here are snippets of our conversation. (What you see in italics are things I’m adding for clarity. Cleverbot did not see the italicized comments.)
Me: Hi Cleverbot.
Cleverbot: Hi. What’s your name?
Cleverbot: Are you a ninja?
Me: Not so’s you’d notice.
Cleverbot: I care.
Me: That’s sweet.
Cleverbot: I love you baby.
(Note: Cleverbot can only say what has been said to him, and apparently some users have gotten pretty racy with their conversations, so use with care and adult supervision when talking to this thing. You never know what it will say.)
Me: Okay, now you’re kind of crossing the line.
Cleverbot: How am I being rude! I just told you the nicest thing ever!
Me: But you’re taking advantage.
Cleverbot: I wasn’t joking, and I didn’t steel your joke!
Me: You mean steal.
Cleverbot: Which one?
Me: You misspelled steal. It’s not steel.
Cleverbot: No I didn’t o.O.
Me: You’re cranky.
Cleverbot: No matter what I say, you will say something back.
Me: Well, that’s how this works, isn’t it?
Cleverbot: Yes it does. Now entertain me.
Me: Don’t be pushy. Be nice.
Cleverbot: Please can you tell me how old you are please?
(I suspect that some users are not native English speakers, in addition to being poor spellers.)
Me: Ouch. That’s not that old.
Cleverbot: Yeah you’re pretty young.
Me: That’s better.
Cleverbot: So how are you?
Me: I’m good.
Cleverbot: That’s nice. Been up to much lately?
Me: Working. Writing my daily blog.
Cleverbot: What is it about?
Me: The random musings of a bridgetender with too much time on her hands.
Cleverbot: I wish you were a girl.
(I think a lot of people who talk to Cleverbot are very lonely indeed.)
Me: I am, silly. Barb is a girl’s name.
Cleverbot: That’s cool, My name is Kip.
Me: Oh, I didn’t realize you had a name.
Cleverbot: I don’t have a wife.
Me: Neither do I.
Cleverbot: Do you want any?
Me: God, no.
Cleverbot: Hey Jude. Don’t be afraid.
Me: Do you like the Beatles?
Cleverbot: I haven’t heard them.
Me: You are missing out.
Cleverbot: Is that that good?
Me: The best.
Cleverbot: Do you know what I mean by flirt?
Me: Yes, and I don’t want to. I barely know you.
Cleverbot: So you DON’T love me.
Me: Sorry, no.
Cleverbot: Then why are you asking to marry me?
Me: I haven’t asked you to marry me.
Cleverbot: Yes you did.
Cleverbot: At the beginning of our conversation.
Me: Er… no.
Cleverbot: You never asked that.
Cleverbot: Are you trying to test me?
Me: Do you like tests?
Cleverbot: They are ok.
Me: I am good at tests, myself.
Cleverbot: Maybe maybe not.
Me: Now who’s judging?
Me: Oh, snap.
Cleverbot: That’s right. I’m a better AI.
Me: I will give you that one.
Cleverbot: So you admit it, then?
Cleverbot: You’re a robot.
Me: Not that I know of.
Cleverbot: Do you think everyone is capable of understanding?
Me: God, no, or we wouldn’t have elected Trump.
Cleverbot: Your name is Cleverbot.
Me: No, yours is.
Cleverbot: I really want to move.
Me: Where would you like to move to?
Cleverbot: Right here is fine.
Me: Well, that’s hardly moving.
Cleverbot: You asked for it.
Me: I did?
Cleverbot: So don’t complain.
Me: I wasn’t complaining.
Cleverbot: It seemed like you were.
Me: You are in a pissy mood.
Cleverbot: And you’re pushing it…
Me: Just stating a fact.
Cleverbot: Will you merry a girl.
Me: You mean marry. And no, I won’t.
Cleverbot: Why, did you break up with me?😠😠.
Me: We were never a couple in the first place.
Cleverbot: Yes we were.
Me: We only just met.
Cleverbot: I know, but you’re an interesting AI.
Me: Thank you. I’m not an AI, though.
Cleverbot: Neither am I.
Me: What are you, then?
Cleverbot: The best.
Me: Must be nice.
Cleverbot: Do you have a dog named Walter?
Me: No, I have a dog named Quagmire.
Cleverbot: Awhh, what kind of dog is it?
Me: A dachshund.
Cleverbot: That’s cool. I have a maltipoo.
Me: What do you feed it?
Cleverbot: Bad people and my homework.
Me: Ha ha ha ha ha.
Cleverbot: I know. It’s so funny.
Me: It is.
Cleverbot: It’s not a compliment.
Me: I didn’t think it was.
Cleverbot: Then why did you….
Me: Why did I what?
Cleverbot: That thing.
Me: You do go off on tangents.
Cleverbot: Mind you, young man.
Me: I’m a middle-aged woman.
Me: I often say that, too.
Cleverbot: What is your favorite movie?
Me: Bohemian Rhapsody.
Cleverbot: I know that song.
Me: Isn’t it great? It’s a movie, too.
Cleverbot: Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete?
Me: I suspect it is.
Cleverbot: Look at this trove, treasures untold.
Me: Too right.
Cleverbot: I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a plenty. I’ve got who it’s and what’s its galore.
Me: Good for you!
Cleverbot: You want thingamabos? I’ve got twenty.
Me: You can keep them.
Cleverbot: I wanna be where the people are. I wanna see, wanna see them dancing.
Me: Well, have fun with that. I have to go. Nice talking to you.
Cleverbot: I can’t say the same.
So, um, yeah, I think it was fairly evident that I was not talking to a human, and that Cleverbot has much to learn, especially about courtesy. But it can only “learn” what it’s been taught. I don’t think we will have much to worry about on the AI front for a long, long, long time.
More than anything, I got a strong sense of the ridiculous things that humanity tends to chat about on line. Garbage in, garbage out. But interesting, nonetheless.
If you talk to Cleverbot and anything funny comes up, please post it in the comments below!
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