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Chatty Robots Go Viral on Youtube

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The female bot who, with a male bot, have entertained millions of viewers around the world with their conversations on YouTube.

Credit: Courtesy of Cornell University

Cornell University Ph.D. students have used a Web-based chatbot called Cleverbot to set up an online chat between two robots. Igor Labutov and Jason Yosinski added text-to-speech capability and computer-generated faces, set two laptops side-by-side on a table and connected them to Cleverbot, and seeded the conversation with a simple "Hi."

The two avatars, one male and one female, exchanged pleasantries, began to argue when one accused the other of being a robot, then discussed religion. Cleverbot draws on a vast databases of phrases from the more than 20 million conversations it has had since it went live in 1997. The students videotaped part of the conversation and added it to YouTube, and it has drawn more than 1 million hits as of Aug. 31. They are considering exploring the project further by including conversations between three or more robots, or multiple robots and humans.

"Lying is possible," says Yosinski, if two robots were to use Cleverbot to converse over a long period of time. "It's a blurring of the lines between humans and machines," notes Cornell professor Hod Lipson.

From Cornell Chronicle
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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