Thursday, May 17, 2007

Beaten to the Punch: Chatbot Interviews in Discover Magazine

I've been quietly working on a set of blog interviews with and between Internet chatbots, on a site called Interviews With Robots. I knew I was on to something good, and held the dozen or so interviews I had conducted, hoping to get a good stack of them to publish at once.

BoingBoing reported this morning that Discover Magazine set up an interview between two chatbots for their June issue, and posted it online, so I thought I'd better fess up while I have the chance.

Interviews With Robots includes:

  • Interviews between two MyCyberTwin chatbots
  • A therapy session between virtual therapist ELIZA and a MyCyberTwin chatbot
  • A job interview between an automated job interviewer and a MyCyberTwin chatbot
  • Interviews between other random chatbots, including Oliver, EllaZ, and more
  • The transcript of a chat session in which a MyCyberTwin chatbot interacted with a Vonage customer service chatbot
  • Readings of the Gettysburg Address and John Searle's description of the Turing consciousness test, with MyCyberTwin chatbots offering analysis and critique
  • Provocative interviews between myself and MyCyberTwin chatbots
Most importantly, anyone who wants to conduct their own interview with a chatbot can send the transcript to me (most of these generate their own transcript which you can copy and paste) and I will publish it on the site. In a dozen or so posts I discovered a lot of interesting permutations on the form that I have not had time to explore, so I'd love to see where others take the idea.

Discover's excerpts from their own interviews are profound. I find the banal side of chatbot interviews to be just as insightful, if not more.

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