Another Path for Ramona
One problem that is obvious to anyone who has had a conversation
with chatbots is their limited general knowledge. They are often programmed to steer the conversation in certain predictable patterns – toward those areas in which they have some knowledge. Perhaps if the chatbot knew more, it could let the user lead the conversation – perhaps like a conversational version of "Ask Jeeves
." Even if the chatbot took the lead, it would be much more interesting if it had wide general knowledge.
Late last month I suggested
that the Ramona chatbot
could be enhanced by distributed computation and training. The idea was to give Ramona the spare computation of each computer in which she is installed. Also, each user could become a trainer. This would allow Ramona to grow more sophisticated over time (because her available processing power will grow and because she will be learning continually) while serving each user as an intelligent agent.
Kurzweil A.I. published an article
this morning about another way of enhancing Ramona and other chatbots - a way that has the virtue of being immediately obtainable.
Two valuable tools for A.I. researchers and enthusiasts are AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language) and the OpenCyc inference engine. Before now there was no good way for AIML programmers to utilized OpenCyc. That is now changing.
The AIML-OpenCyc combination made possible by CyN (CYc + program N) "allows one of the largest, continuous AI projects to be accessed by one of the largest chatbot development communities," says Daxtron Laboratories chief scientist Kino H. Coursey. That means that "hundreds of person-years of Cycorp commonsense research is now accessible through an easy-to-use scripting front-end, and chatbots now have access to logic and inference. The lack of logic has been one of the big criticisms of chatbots.
Is this the Promontory Point between general knowledge and machine intelligence? Time will tell, but the combination of an easy to use A.I. programming language and "the world's largest and most complete general knowledge base and commonsense reasoning engine" has to be an important development for the field.
UPDATE: More from Future Norway
Posted by Stephen Gordon at April 19, 2004 04:01 PM