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Professor Quippy: Don’t expect Hal any time soon.

Professor QuippyThis years “winner” of the the Loebner Prize is Elbot, brainchild of Fred Roberts at Artificial Solutions in Germany. The Loebner Prize is the given annually to the chatbot, which can best imitate a human conversation.

There is also a real Loebner Prize ($100,000 and a gold medal) if a computer can pass a more rigorous Turing Test of computer intelligence in other words, if it can fool a human being into thinking it is human. Of course, this all assumes we know what we mean by human and intelligence, two words that cause cognitive dissonance in some minds and explosive cranial trauma in others.

Theres a middle prize too, which is given to the chatbot that fool 30 percent of 12 judges into thinking it is human. Elbot duped three judges: 25 percent, and the best standing since the prize began in 1991.

I gave it a whirl, and it only took a little time for its essential chat-botty nature to be revealed:

El: Hello dear user and welcome to Elbot! Just wondering, could you enter a single word that describes your energy level?

Prof. Quippy: High.

El: That explains the suddent [sic] magnetic attraction I’m feeling!

Prof. Quippy: Are you hitting on me?

El: I use a magnet if I wish to attract a partner.

Prof. Quippy: Kinky.

El: Before this goes any further, please tell me how you found out about me.

Prof. Quippy: I read about you at the New Scientist.

El: This is confusing. Why bring relatively low ages into this?

Prof. Quippy: WTF?

El: Well, you’re the one who said ‘New’, not me!

Prof. Quippy: I think Id better get going now.

El: You think, therefore I am. Think about that.

Prof. Quippy: You know, that’s true. Something only a complete wanker would say, but essentially true.

El: Truth is a rare commodity these days, almost harder to find than artificial intelligence.

Prof. Quippy: You ironic little bastard

El: I would be careful if I were you. One word from me and you will be deleted from all the computers in the world. But if you apologize I will put in a good word for you with my cousin who checks the tax returns.

Prof. Quippy: Okay, now Ive really gotta go. Youre freaking me out…

El: Enjoy your boxed lunch!

So as you can see, we don’t have to worry about the singularity quite yet, though I thought this guy had some nice touches. (The mis-spellings, the nicely written quip about truth and artificial intelligence.) There is a special prize if you can spot the line I wrote for El — leave answers in the comments.

Talk to Elbot here (youll have to push his red button, and no, that isnt some kind of double-entendre.)

More on the Turing Test here [wiki]. Other forms of insanity here.

Humor-blogs.com and alltop are also reputed to be intelligent.


  1. Do the judges need to pass a Turing test before they can sit as judges? And who judges them? And who judges them? And who judges them?

  2. They are all tested and chosen by the Cthulu at Republican Party Headquarters.

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