by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 2nd 2011 4:20pm
By now, I assume you've already seen the two chatbots talking to each other, but on the off-chance you haven't (or in case you just want to see it again), here it is:
The video went crazy viral quickly, and the folks at The Alyona Show moved quickly and got the professor behind the project, Hod Lipson, on the show to talk about the experiment:
It's an interesting conversation, but the one point that really caught my attention was over the question of whether or not the bots "understood" what they were saying. The obvious answer is "of course not, they're just bots," but Lipson made an interesting point: at times it's not clear that actual people know what they're saying. Many people just repeat stuff they've heard elsewhere -- which is how Cleverbot is programmed to work. He also notes that this is effectively how children learn to speak and to think, by repeating what others say. Of course, there's still a huge difference, and there's nothing in Cleverbot that will ever take all these pieces and take it to the next level of conscious thought, but it's still a neat concept.
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