What is a Chatterbot?



A chatterbot is an artificial intelligence program written to simulate intelligent conversation through written text.  On the extreme end, a chatterbot may be entered in a chatroom with real people, that may be fooled into thinking this artificial "entity" is a real person.  The very first program that I recall was Eliza.  Although Eliza was written in the sixties, versions and adaptations were made for home computers in the early eighties.  I have even typed in Eliza clone programs from magazines in 1983.  These were clever character string editors.

Why am I mentioning chatterbots on a robot web site?  The mind of a robot is merely a software program.  Most industrial robots do nothing more than read and execute a set of instructions.  However, the robots that science fiction is interested in display human emotions.  This is artificial intelligence.  Think of chatterbots as robots without bodies, in much the same way as the Hal 9000 is from 2001: A Space Odyssey ( image left ).  Maybe they aren't robots, but certainly an integral part of the robots I'm interested in!

Thanks goes to Chris Cowart for introducing me to this new field.  Apparently chatterbot contests are held now!

So the next time you find yourself engaging in meaningful conversation in a chatroom, ask yourself, "Is this live, or is this chatterbot?"

Please check out the sites below.  You may even experience a chatterbot!

Check out Agentland's Chatterbox Challenge!
Botmaster: Chris Cowart
The Simon Laven Page