Friday, November 05, 2004


Artificial Intelligence has always caught my attention....right from the time I had this subject in my BTech 7th semster. My first encounter with AI was Eliza. The chatterbot that was created by MIT scientist Joseph Weizenbaum and named after Eliza Doolittle of My Fair Lady fame, it was designed to simulate a conversation between a psychooanalysis and a patient. Crappy versions (according to the creator and newer versions of Eliza is available here.
But mind you, Eliza is not that intelligent. I guess this was just a pet project and not much effort was put into perfecting this chatterbot.

But then the first thing I did when I heard about this from my Prof, was to look up how this thing exactly worked. I was a little disappointed when I came to know that it was nothing but a combo of a parser and a sentence matching program. But then later on I came across some newer versions which could actually learn from each chat. Now that was interesting.
Since then have spent so many nights chatting with Eliza and trying to see whether she had learnt something from me ;)

Had even tweaked her data file so that it would look like I was the one chatting on the other side.........sadly lost the whole tweaked version when my hard disk crashed.

There was another thing that I used to do with these....connect two chatterbots so that they talk to each other and I would just sit back and watch the word-war. It used to get really funny at times. :)
Well, 2 months of annual vacation really makes one do lots of stuff!

Eliza is not the only chatterbot around, there are many more like her. Even the Yahoo helper and AskJeeves are chatterbots. Now there seems to be a whole lot of chatterbots around. Check out this link to see Eliza's cousins. NannyB, RunABot (where you can create your own chatterbots), PandoraBots, Jack the Ripper, Yu sound promising. Wish I had some time to check them out.

Check out the lil chat I had with witty Shampage

SHAMpage: A penny for your thoughts; $20 to act it out.
GWBE: ha ha. you are just too much
SHAMpage: Sometimes there is no reason. Shit Happens.
GWBE: i think you are just talking randomnly
SHAMpage: Why do you say that, GWBE?
GWBE: becasue you are so stupid
SHAMpage: You're the one who's chatting with a stupid machine, GWBE!
GWBE: so you agree that you are stupid
SHAMpage: Why?
GWBE: u said that
SHAMpage: What am I DOING here???
GWBE: yeah tell me
SHAMpage: Me, me, me... do you live in front of your mirror?
GWBE: yes i do :)
SHAMpage: Yyes? Are you THAT easy?
GWBE: yes
SHAMpage: That's easy for you to say, GWBE.
GWBE: yes
SHAMpage: That's "si" to you. You're in South Florida now!
GWBE: thank you
SHAMpage: Any time...
GWBE: so tell me more
SHAMpage: Don't you have anything INTERESTING to talk about, GWBE?
GWBE: nope
SHAMpage: You're being contrary and obnoxious again.
GWBE: ha ha :)
SHAMpage: You think that's funny? Try looking in the mirror, GWBE!
GWBE: you are just too much
SHAMpage: No kidding!
GWBE: who is your bestfriend?
SHAMpage: Stop with the "Who" already! You sound like a freakin' owl!
GWBE: where is your best friend?
SHAMpage: In jail.
GWBE: what did he do?
SHAMpage: Like I care...

All these memories came flooding down on me when I read about this Computer Program that can predict the author's gender accurately. Since a machine learning technique is used, it learns everytime someone uses it and now the creator claims that it works 80% of the time. I would disagree and say that it works even better. Tried out with some of my friends writings and most of the predictions were correct, but then me and Neeta seem to have a masculine touch in our writing cause we were identified as male!!! I wonder what it will say if I try some writing by a homosexual person. hmmmmm I tried out Yash's, he was identified as a male. Maybe I should ask someone near Mananchira Square to write something so that I have a good sample :P

Anyways, the way it works is pretty simple. The basis this program is built upon is that 'men talk more about objects, and women more about relationships'. True? Am not very sure......
Patterns detected by the program include the use of pronouns, such as I, you, he, she, them (female) and words that identify and quantify nouns, like a, the, that, one, two (male). The software, developed by Moshe Koppel of Bar Ilan University in Israel, was designed to "identify the most prevalent fingerprints of gender." These words are given different weightages and the problem just scans how many times these words have been used by the author.
This program seems to have got it right. Check it out here and fall in love with AI.

But then I wonder what real life applications such a technology would have? Would someone ever want to buy such a thing?

Maybe Foreign universities which scrutinises students' applications and essays can use this as an additional check to find out whether it was written by a same sex person or even whether the person has tried to grossly change his/her way of writing.
Na...........doesnt sound very viable.

This can be used to check the gender of anonymous chat partners.
Now that may be an interesting use!
But then I guess these days people would be smart enough to talk like a girl, if they impersonate as one. But then, you never know.

Can even be used by profs at K to check whether the guys have copied any assignments from C hostel or vice versa.

And of course its a great way to catch someone's attention. Would do great as an Online Curio which is what it is today.

If you can think of some other use for this, do let me know.

Just found an answer, this would be a great use of chatterbots. Posted by Hello


Anonymous said...

Tracking down criminals may be... like kidnappers who don't call in but send e-mails;u must've heard of paedophiles who lure kids after chatting on line with them. There are so many warped people out there who'll use tech for no-good uses. let's hope this kind of tech can track them down.

- M

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Now that would be expecting too much! This software can just recognise the not sure that it can be used to track down people or match profiles....maybe a very sophisticated version of this...but even then it would be too complex and error aint an easy task to predict who will say what right?

hmmmmmmm btw who is M?

Anonymous said...

M could have a point, GWBE. Came across an article in RD where the psychiatrist in the Police dept read the ransom notes and told the cops that the suspect was a single male, with college education who drove a large vehicle and lived a secluded life!!
Just a question of time.

- Ami

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Aha! thats great.

But that also means I would be able to get away with it ;)

Anonymous said...

first of all, your blog is so-so, but getting better ;)
regarding your gender detection software:
hmmm.. a classical example of how people try to extract
usefulness from anything they could lay their hands on.
i bet the guy wrote this program as pass time or maybe
to test some algorithm...
The only point: when you hear about such a thing your
first thought is - wow, sounds great, lemme try it out
(and prove that its wrong). if it works, well its cool!
if it doesn't: guys will be happy to cheat it and gals
will be happy coz of obvious reasons :o)

- bodhi

Kiran Tikare said...


AI caught my attention too, here is a chat between mycyber twin and a girl named Anjali.

AI and Flirting