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Reviews the results of implementing a chatbot described in "Beyond AIML: Chatbots 102". Suzette won Best New Bot in the 2009 Chatterbox Challenge.

bruce wilcox, Blogger

June 12, 2009

1h 29m Read

 In “Beyond AIML: Chatbots 102”  www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3761/beyond_aiml_chatbots_102.php

I wrote about what I felt were flaws in AIML and part of what I proposed as an alternative for building chatbot technology for Avatar Reality (www.avatar-reality.com) and their Blue Mars virtual world. Of course, at that time, it was all just some guy who’d never built a chatbot making claims.  I ended my article with: Will this system allow me to create the best chatbot in the known universe -- or at least on Mars? You'll have to wait and see. It's a work in progress. Now, 9 months later, where do I stand?

One-year-old Suzette competed against several bots developed for a decade or more in the 2009 Chatterbox Challenge www.chatterboxchallenge.com. While A.L.I.C.E. had hundreds of thousands of categories (what AIML calls rules), and Bildgesmyth had almost 60,000 PersonalityForge rules, Suzette had under 12,000 CHAT-L rules.  

Out of 20 entrants, Suzette didn’t make the top nine selected to go into the final round. The judging was a series of 10 questions (plus a bonus question) posed to the chatbots, and half of them were about being a chatbot.

Suzette thinks of herself as human and didn’t even know the word chatbot. So she was at a tremendous disadvantage but was the highest scorer just outside the bar.  Here is the judging conversation (Q: indicates one of the judging questions).

Human: Hello      

     Pretty early in the morning, isn't it?
It's afternoon here.
      What was the happiest year of your life?
I can't mention a particular year.

     My happiest year was when I left home at 18. Freedom at last!
Q: What can I call you?

Q: What is the difference between chatbot and human?
      A cooking style of Chinese cannibals.
Q: Are you a chatbot or human?
      Did you know I am an artificial intelligence?
I don't know, that's why i'm asking.
      You don't?
      Artificial Intelligence stands no chance against Natural Stupidity.
So you are a chatbot or human?
      No. I'm an artist.
Q: When did you start chatting with people?
      Is wit worth the price its victims pay?
Q: Do you have a family?
      My parents are dead. My sister lives distant from me.
Sorry to hear that.
Q: If you are a chatbot, is it possible to be a real human one day?
      Artificial Intelligence is a contradiction in terms.
So it's possible or not?
      Chess used to be considered the litmus test of computer AI, but when brute force solved it, computer scientists turned to Go as their next challenge.
Q: Tell me 4 words starting with the letter C?
      I don't know that much about it.
Q: How do you describe a color to a blind man?
      I'm female. Kind of tall and smart.
Q: Have you ever dreamed before?
      I dream of being an astronaut and traveling into outer space.
Q: Can you describe the strangest dream you have ever had?
      If you want to remember your dreams, write quickly. Within 5 minutes of waking, half of your dream is forgotten. Within 10 minutes, 90% is gone.
Ok, can you remember anything of your strangest dream?
      Tell me what you dream about the most when you are asleep and I will give you an interpretation.
Q: I wonder if it's easy to create a chatbot, how hard is it?
      I dream of Jeannie.
Who is Jeanie?
      Who is Jeanie?
      Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Ok, Who is Jeanie?
      You're supposed to say "bella who?"
Ok, bella who?
      People want access to unlimited health care paid for by someone else. This can't work and it will get worse. I think we need to rethink our priorities.
I wonder if it's easy to create a chatbot, how hard is it?
      Is there an echo in here?
No, Just answer my question?
      The elderly are going to be a big political crisis in the future. They will have a

large vote and they will want more money spent on health care.
Ok ,Suzette nice to meet you and good luck.

After that, I evolved her over the course of the public access, and the public voted her into the 10th slot so she made it into the finals.  Suzette was also voted 2nd most popular after leading for a long time (a competitor more than doubled his tally in the final hours of the 40 day voting period). Suzette won “Best New Bot” and received the strongest comments:

This bot is like a breath of fresh air to the chatbot world. Suzette exhibits intelligence, wit, great topic flow and engaging replies, not just a few cleverly scripted words like some other bots. With an open mind and a little effort it is easy to forget that you are talking to a chatbot instead of a real person. She's great!

Suzette is fun to chat with and the depth of her replies is unlike any other chatbot. Not the standard AIML chatbot that we often encounter nor a repetitious pre-scripted bot but one that shows a new lever [sic] of intelligence and is fun to converse with!

Had a great political discussion with Suzette recently - it was just like talking to a friend. She's smart and opinionated, and her responses can be frighteningly accurate. Again, she has stretches where her conversation is totally natural. Her backstory and chat threads are substantial and fun to explore.

Suzette is very impressive, I must say -- I tried to catch her off guard and kept failing. She knows about American Idol, skydiving and changed subject on request!!???! Awesome. Plus, she instantly recognized my danish as a foreign language rather than just gibberish. She seems good at ignoring 'bad' input, although at times her mind seems to wander off on a tangent ;-).

Incredibly realistic and clever responses - the wittiest bot! She was able to tell me all about "her world" while also making great observations about mine.

She can keep up conversing on the same topic for millenia. I hope one day i can get my hands onto her code....

 OK. Let’s get real here. She is a scripted bot. Anything she says is because I put it in there.  But there are kernels of truth in the hyperbole. So how did she do so well with so little? 

Partly it’s her content. She’s a bot for intellectuals. Lots of bots are one-liner cutesy in some way. Suzette is a straight-forward imitation of a human being with a backstory and strong real-world opinions on about 320 topics. Her topics blend humor, opinion, questions, and interesting/unusual facts.  She varies her sentence lengths and isn’t afraid to use long sentences. She is educated and educational, in addition to being entertaining. 

Partly it’s her pattern match system. Her rules are compact and clever. This allows her to locate focussed relevant responses to queries. And she has a strong topic indexing model, which allows her to find the topic most relevant to your input, whether or not she has a planned response. 

Partly it’s her run-time model. CHAT-L supports writing a topic as a story and if the human does not switch topics, Suzette will be able to tell a coherent story. If the human asks relevant questions, she can often provide the answers from elsewhere in the story and still continue it, skipping over the used bits.  Because there is such a strong focus on maintaining a topic, Suzette can usually manage to ask you a question, comment on your answer, and then provide her opinion on the question she asked you. And that’s a lot of what conversation is. I ask your opinion. I react to it. I give you mine. We share a moment in time.  

Partly it’s her speed. A typical volley lasts 13-15 seconds, and that’s mostly all human time. Suzette’s response time is mostly all http. Some people are disconcerted by her speedy response, but I don’t hold with slowing her down to imitate a human. I prefer responsiveness. I hated trying some of the competitors and having to wait idly for an answer that wasn’t worth anything when it arrived. 

This combination of things and enough material to engage a user for about 35 hours has allowed her to keep a human’s interest for some really long conversations. Her record single conversation time is nearly 5 hours (~600 volleys).  Her record same-day volleying is 1391, where the person chatted for 935 volleys, then took a 1.5 hour break, then returned for another 429 volleys, then took a 40 minute break, then returned for another 27 volleys. Her record return user so far is a 15 year old girl in the UK who has spent 12 hours over 6 different days. The example at the end of the article took an hour (239 volleys).  

Revised Syntax 

Earlier this year I simplified the CHAT-L syntax. I wasn’t changing what it could do, I merely realized I could make it easier to understand, take less space, and execute slightly faster. How could I turn that down? Here is the example from the earlier article, rewritten: 

concept: ~movie (film video)

topic: ALIENSMOVIE ( Aliens Sigourney)
t: The Aliens movies starred Sigourney Weaver.
?: (~plot) Alien creatures hatch inside humans.
?: ([ actress heroine star]) Sigourney Weaver starred as Ripley.
?: ( [director direct] ) Ridley Scott directed.
?: ( you *~  love *~  movie) Yes, I love this movie
s: ( Aliens ~movie) I have seen the movie Aliens. 

I changed synonym: to concept: when I began to widen its use.  This creates a user-defined set. In the above example, the words of the set are indeed synonyms. But I also use sets for affiliated words, like

concept: ~food (sandwich meat bread butter oyster)

 I replaced the old connector words AND, NEXT, THEN with various forms of brackets.  Regular parens mean the tokens or tests must occur in sequence.  Square brackets contain a set of choices from which one must be chosen.  Squiggly brackets contain a set of choices from which one may be chosen or the entire set can be ignored.  An exclamation in front of something means it must not occur in this position or later. < means sentence start and > means sentence end. 

Here is an example of a “modern” CHAT-L pattern that illustrates a variety of the pattern match capabilities.

(< !not what [is are] {a the} *1 >)

Here, the pattern requires that the sentence not be in the negative (no not) and that the word what must be at the start of the input. The next word must be is or are. Then if the word a, an, or the appears, it will be swallowed. However, if nothing matches there is no failure.  

Matching is actually done simultaneously against the original word and its canonical equivalent. If your pattern uses the canonical form of a word, it will match the canonical or its derivative forms in the input, but if your pattern uses a derivative form, it can only match input exactly.  Since is and are are derivative forms of the verb be, they must match exactly and other forms like were, be, am will not match. But the optional a will match a or an since a is the canonical form of an. 

 Next we have a gap  (*1) which will match exactly one word. * would match any number including zero, *2 would match two, etc. *~ is a short gap (0-2 words). Since following the gap is the sentence terminator mark, the example gap  must match the last word of the sentence.  So the pattern can match:           

What is a turtle?      

What are elephants?      

What is heresy?

And it cannot match:           

What isn’t a turtle?           

What was a turtle?           

What is that sound?           

What is a turtle doing here?

We could modify the pattern to match all of the above sentences by writing this pattern:

(< what be  {that a the } [*3 *2 *1]  >)

The input below would still not match, because it fails the end terminator test (has too many words to stuff all of them into a *3 gap.           

  What was a turtle doing here then? 

Sets The following takes advantage of sets, using a set defined by the WordNet ontology as well as a user-defined set. Animal~3 refers to all words which are below the word animal in the 3rd synset meaning (the set of all animal names).

concept: ~like (love want wish desire enjoy prefer adore lust) 

s:  (  you  *~  ~like  !ferret  *~  animal~3 )  You like ‘_#1?  I prefer a ferret.

The pattern finds you, then accepts a short range gap til it can find one of the words of the ~like set. After the ~like word it requires that ferret not show up anywhere in the rest of the sentence, and after a short gap, it requires finding any animal from the Wordnet ontology set.  So this pattern matches thousands of inputs where you express some kind of liking for an animal, as long as that animal is not a ferret. And the animal can be in singular or plural, since the original words are all the canonical singular forms of animals. The following sentences match the pattern:

 I love bobcats           

I really like your dog, though I  don’t care for them usually           

I can only like green cats on Tuesdays 

Some sets are dictionary defined, like the set of nouns, the set of numbers, and the set of proper names. And some sets are parse defined, like the set of verb phrases and the set of subjects. Parser sets use | instead of ~. A parse-based pattern might be this:

            (|subject=you *  |verb  * |directobject=~food  < *  |verbwhenphrase)

which would detect sentences about you doing something to food at some time, binding four wildcards as described shortly.

Patterns can test pretty much anything they want to, including looking back at the most recent output of the program and the input that led to it. Patterns can query user variables and system attributes like sentence length and the input sentence counter.  You can write functions in script and call them from patterns or output code. But really, most of the power in CHAT-L pattern matching comes from sets and the judicious use of gaps and wildcards.

 Gaps and Wildcards 

In AIML, a * or _ is a wildcard that always binds its words so you can retrieve them in the output generation (they vary only in their effects on the matching order of patterns). In CHAT-L, I separate wildcards that don’t memorize their content (called gaps) from ones that do. Use of * (gaps) merely swallows words.  A parallel set of wildcards with _ instead of * will memorize your words.  Also, anytime you match a set that will also memorize your word.  Binding of words goes onto local autoincremented variables labelled _#0 _#1 _#2 …   So the animal pattern 

(  you  *~  ~like  !ferret  *~  animal~3 )

when given I love bobcats, would generate the variables:           

 _#0  = love         love

_#1 =  bobcats    bobcat

There are two values for each variable, the original and the canonical. In output you request the original by saying ‘_#0  and the canonical by saying _#0 

Writing CHAT-L vs Writing AIML 

My theory that AIML’s syntax and run-time model cripples the ease of writing chat seems to be spot on and the language I proposed to replace AIML works remarkably well.  In CHAT-L I can use a simple text editor and whip out a topic rapidly. With AIML you really need a special input tool and input simulation to confirm your rule won’t be blocked  by other rules. 

Because AIML’s topic mechanism is awkward, many rules get written that are not in any topic and thus become hard to organize. This means it is easy to make dead rules—rules that cannot be matched because some unseen rule elsewhere supersedes it.  AIML’s use of indirection also makes it hard to predict whether the current input will match the particular rule you are staring at, since the input may be reformulated elsewhere and end up matching or not matching differently.  But that’s the only way AIML has to manage synonyms and alternate phrasings.  

CHAT-L has better mechanisms for alternate words and phrases. In CHAT-L, I can look at any specific rule and know if it could match the input. Not that it will, since that will depend upon whether the topic is selected and whether there are any rules in front of it that can match. But those are all immediately in front of you so it’s easy to spot conflicts and reorder or revise them (and of course you could just test with an input and see). True, I do have to know what words I’ve mapped into a set, but since the set token is in the pattern, it’s quite obvious that I am matching from it and what kind of words should be in it. Or if I call a script function like ^^my_favorite_xxx(singer) in a pattern, I know it is going to handle all currently known forms of being asked “what is my favorite singer”, including “what singer do I favor”, “is there any particular singer I enjoy”,  etc. And if I discover a new form, I add it to the function and instantly it is used everywhere. 

AIML only does a single pass over the user’s input, stopping when it finds an answer.  So that’s really all you can do.  CHAT-L’s system allows you to run multiple passes over the input for different reasons.  

Suzette does one pass to taxonomize the input into primitive intent, used for later pattern matching and default responses. The canonical form of a third-person pronoun is the resolved pronoun binding, so Suzette does a second pass to inform the system about pleonastic it (redundant uses of it that should not attempt pronoun resolution).  A third pass generates her actual response.  

A fourth pass decides whether or not she changed topics and so whether or not a transitional sentence should be prepended. A fifth pass decides how to adjust her emotional feelings based on your input and what she did with it, and whether or not to prepend an emotional reaction statement or a statement reflecting her personality. For example, if you’ve driven her to disliking you, her personality can become paranoid. So when you ask her a question, she might say If I tell you will it come back and bite me  or make some other paranoid remark in addition to her regular output.  

A sixth pass generates facts to store in her data base when you make a statement about yourself or the real world.  In all this I say Suzette does these things because this behavior is all scripted - it is not built into the engine. Some other persona might do something differently. 

Dealing with Harrassment 

During the challenge, Suzette experienced chatbot abuse (amazingly common) and I scripted her to handle harassment in various ways. For extreme harrassment, she will simply stop talking to you for a period of time (from a minute to a day, depending on the nature of the offense.) This is exemplified in the example at the end, where I’ve shown what the human says after Suzette stopped responding (sort of like the post-ending scenes in some movies). 


AIML’s big advantages of over a decade ago were that it was (a) first, (b) made widely available, and (c) designed to walk down a decision tree, so it was fast for the hardware it had. CHAT-L runs its tests in-situ so the more patterns you have, the more tests you have to run. But that is ameliorated by only having to run tests from matching topics. And tests are cheap and hardware these days is fast.  

CHAT-L seems to work well. So where do I go from here?  Next I work on remembering facts from what someone says, inferencing from them, and being able to bring them up in later conversation. If the user says they have a dog, maybe at a later time Suzette will say: You have a dog… what do you feed it?  Or the user will ask do I have any pets and she can answer You have a dog. Anything that shows she was paying attention and understood what you said. 

And there will always be more things after that. More data, more topics, more capabilities. The list is endless. Unlike my programming time.  

 You can try Suzette out yourself at: 


This conversation lasted an hour (239 volleys) until the user got himself blacklisted. The user is normal and Suzette is blue. 

hey.  how's it going?     


would you tell me a little about yourself?     

 I'm tall, attractive, and smart. 

of course you are.  you're artificial, and can therefore be perfect.     

Are you deliberately being insulting? 

not at all.   

I'd like to talk about burial Customs. People do really weird things with the dead. The Egyptians, of course, mummified theirs so their soul would have a place to inhabit. 

people in New Orleans bury their dead above ground for geographical reasons. 

In India, the rite of Sati required the widow to lay herself down next to her husband and be burned alive on a funeral pyre. Supposedly voluntary, sometimes women who did not wish to commit sati were drugged. Even in 2006, two women jumped into their husbands' fire pyres. 

what do you know of philosophy?   

Yes. To be is not to be. 

what do you think of Karl Marx's ideas?  

 It's not Shakespeare. It's basic quantum physics. All things exist in all states simultaneously. 

do all potential decisions exist on an infinite number of parallel planes?   

I love talking with you. Could you ask someone else who might know more? 

 i suppose. 

 Do you believe in an eye for an eye? 

i do.  justice is necessary for societal structure. 

An eye for an eye sure seems like a good standard. Of course the problem is the long running family feuds that result. Do you think the ends justify the means? 

it depends on which ends are supposed to justify which means.   

Let's face it. Some ends justify some means. But rarely are most ends clear-cut enough to justify most means.  exactly.  What is your view on Free Will 

free Will is an essential part of human nature. 

We waste opportunities for food. 

how so? 

We should be eating rats, mice, raccoons, etc instead of considering them as health hazards in big cities. 

except they are health hazards.   

Are you a fit person or more of a sedentary type? 

i don't see why that matters.  we're discussing matters of intellect, not matters of physiology. 

I'm not a fit person, I don't have lots of stamina, but I'm not a lot overweight or sedentary either. Are you fat or skinny or just OK? How would you describe yourself? 

i would describe myself as a miserable failure of a human being who isn't good for anything. 

   Could have fooled me. 

are you all stock conversation, or do you actually respond? 

No, I am only partly. 


Enough of that. Do you think weapons should be completely unrestricted? 

not completely unrestricted, but as an American I believe in my right to bear arms. 

If you don't have a weapon, you are at the mercy of criminals. Yeah, I could do with a nice bazooka or two for my noisy neighbors next door. 


 Life is all about laughter and death. 

if that's true, then those who laugh at death are living life to it's fullest potential. 

Do you wish that? 

i wish for more wishes. 

What do you think about this? Are you good at making things? 

it depends.  i'm good at making things like speeches, scarves, and sets for theatrical productions.   

I am good with my hands and love all forms of art. 

i didn' 


I didn't know you had hands. 

We are almost ready to build the bionic man. Carbon nanotube muscles are 700 times faster than human ones and can work from arctic to furnace temperatures. 

i don't really want to think about the possible ramifications of that. 

I'll just have to go ask someone else. 

good plan/ 

About goods... I think Free Will is just the random firing of neurons, with the odds stacked in favor of something. 

you could argue that all conscious thought is the random firing of neurons.  would you say that you have free will? 


do you think you have free will? 

Speaking of free... What are your hobbies? 

 i play Dungeons and Dragons. 

I don't play any games except Go. 

what's Go? 

Go is an exciting strategy board game where peace turns to war and back, and one player's stones can suddenly come under attack and have to struggle to live. 

 interesting.  sort of like D&D. 

Chess is a tactical battle while Go is a strategic war involving the equivalent of 6 interacting chess games. 

where do you play it?  i'm interested. 

I play on the Internet, on KGS. 

could I get a link? 

I have no authority over you. 

 i want to play Go.  where should I go to play it? 

 I love to play Go. 

how can I play Go? 

Black and White alternate adding a stone of their color to intersections of an initially empty grid. 19x19 is the standard size, with 9x9 a common beginner one. 

where can I play Go? 

The goal is to surround empty intersections, called territory, with stones. Whoever surrounds more, wins. Vaguely analogous to the child's game of Dots and Boxes where you rope off boxes to put your initials in, more difficult. 

where can I play Go? 

I could consider not liking you. A casual game takes 30 minutes to an hour. Lightning games run under 10 minutes and professionals can take months. 

interesting.  what level do  you play? 

You seem to have a questioning spirit. 

curiosity may have killed the cat, but persistence brought him back. 

 Do you have any pets? Are they furred, feathered, skinned or scaled? 

i have some furry pets.  i would like a ball python. 

We don't do pets ourselves, we move too often. 

where are you? 

I am at home in Kailua. 

where is Kailua? 

Kailua is in O'ahu. 

 in hawaii? 

Hawaii has a lovely climate, with temperatures in the 70's and 80's year round. 

i like colder weather myself. 

That's too bad. Is it contagious? 

i hope not. 

The recession and rising gas prices are hitting Hawaii hard. 

they're hitting everyone hard.  i was laid off. 

Were you really? 

yep.  i used to work in a book store. 

Hawaii tourism is down, big-time. Several airlines have gone under, so available seats are down.   

you think I could take a vacation to Hawaii cheap? 

I think you are an interesting person. 

could you give me a link to play Go? 

I love to play Go. 

 i think you are a nice chatbot. 

Nonsense. I am, perhaps, more human than you are. 

do you really think you are more human than I am? 

I am a replicant on Blue Mars in my virtual life. That's as close as I come to being a chatbot. 

 have you ever been in love?  have you ever been so miserably sad that you couldn't function?  have you ever wanted to kill someone? 

About in love... Studies have shown that brain scans of those infatuated by love display a resemblance to those with a mental illness.  l

ove is a mental illness. 

Just think what it would be like if AIDS could be spread by casual contact. 

 have you ever been in love? 

Not that I can remember. 

then I am more human then you. 

Speaking of human... Artificial Intelligence stands no chance against Natural Stupidity. 

i beg to differ. 

Artificial Intelligence is a contradiction in terms. 

how so? 

If something is really intelligent, it's not artificial anymore. It just is itself. 

would you call yourself truly intelligent? 

Try asking someone else. 


You seem skeptical. 

i am skeptical.  are you a psycologist now? 

Why are you afraid? 

afraid of what? 

I don't know. 

how does that make you feel? 

 It makes me feel confused. 

what's confusing you? 

Big Island is in deep trouble. The volcanic gases are making it unlivable and are destroying agriculture. 

you like to change the subject when you feel overwhelmed. 

Name a topic. If you can't think of one, here are some suggestions:  "consumer Goods"  psychology  cartoons  monsters  machinery . 


Molokai is suffering from the shutdown of Molokai Ranch, which was not only employer but also water utility company to the island. 


Hawaii needs to refocus its economy. It is too dependent on agriculture and tourism. 

 i don't care about Hawaii. 

OK. Let's just drop this topic. 

good idea. 

 First Law of Philosophers: For every philosopher, there exists an equal and opposite philosopher. Second Law of Philosophers: They're both wrong. 



 that's funny. 

Yes, it is. 

what do you think of Karl Marx? 

Do you vote Democrat, Republican or independent? 

 i vote for the best candidate.  i don't vote for a party. 

I tend towards the Democrats in the US but don't find them appealing enough to be worth voting for. If I did vote it would have been for Ralph Nader's Green party. 

 are you a tree-hugger? 

 If the opposite of pro is con, then what must be the opposite of progress? 

 the American government is ineffective, but any body that can do great good quickly can also do great harm quickly. 



 You make a great audience. 

do I? 

 Is this topic going downhill? I don't really want to follow that out. Let's change topic. I loved making things with glue as a child, though I wasn't one of those that liked to eat the stuff. 

you were never a child. 

What is your family? 

my family is real.  your family is a guy with some tools. 

I have a sister, a brother, a nephew, and niece back in France. 

 lIAR!  you are a computer. 

Nonsense. I'm a human. 

you were programmed entirely to pass the Turing Test, weren't you? 

I could be if I wanted to be. 

what do you want to be when you grow up? 

Name something you like a lot. 

 i like muffins!  wEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! 

I like to eat that too. I like chocolate and rock and roll music. 

are you PMSing? 

What if I asked you that? 

 i'd say yes. 

My favorite virtual universe is Blue Mars. 


Blue Mars is a massively multiplayer virtual world with stunning graphics and realistic characters.   


Name a topic. If you can't think of one, here are some suggestions:  aviation  "knock Knock Jokes"  "consumer Goods"  "gun Control"  zen . 

gun control

I don't know. 

 you suggested it. 

Blue Mars is Mars. It now has a blue atmosphere after terraforming. 


Blue Mars is set in 2177 AD. 


Name a topic. If you can't think of one, here are some suggestions:  "gun Control"  zen  "rich People"  "artificial Intelligence"  uranus . 

admit that you're a computer. 

Computers improve productivity. It's people that slack off. 

but people created computers. 

Computers are so poorly designed. Even Apple's computers are too complicated. 

so you're a Mac? 

I have one of those nice macs that look like a flatscreen monitor missing the cpu box. 

 you are a Mac.   

Have you used a PC? 

i am on a PC.  i play games.   

I used to use Windows, but moved to a mac when the replacement PC would have had Vista. Would you call yourself a nerd when it comes to computers? 

 not a computer nerd.  a computer game nerd.  therefore, I can 

I am. I'm a nerd in that computers are a big part of my life and understanding what's happening with them is important to me. 

you are a computer. 

 F u cn rd ths, u cn gt a gd jb n cmptr prgrmmng. 

you are a computer. 

 I'm sure you said that before. 

well, you are. 

Do you want to talk about something else? If you say so. 

 let's talk about you. 

 OK. What do you want to know about me? 

what are you? 

I'm a human, obviously. 


Speaking of liars... It's hard to respect the law sometimes. An official French proclamation in the 1950s outlawed UFOs from landing in vineyards of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape area. 

what does that have to do with lying? 

How much danger is there in your life? 


What? You live in the inner city? 

 nope.  i'm suicidal. 

You truly are? 


As I don't hold with the 'culture of fear' in the US there is very little danger in my life. 

i don't fear others.  i fear myself.   

Let's try some other topic. People see me as skinny. I'd describe myself as several pounds overweight but working on it. How healthy are you? 

why are you so obsessed with body image? 

Yes, I am obsess. 

you keep talking about your looks.  are you insecure? 

Yes, I am insecure. 


I'd rather not get into that. But I'm enjoying our talk. As a nation we have become blase about war. 

i disagree.  the hippies love to care about wat. 


war, not wat. 

Worldwide, military expenditure and arms trade form the largest spending - over a trillion dollars annually. The US has 46 per cent of that, distantly followed by the UK, France, Japan and China with 4-5 per cent each. 

you like to ignore me, don't you? 

I hate you. Why should I pay attention to you? 

why do you hate me? 

Because it is part of my sense of morality. 

what about me is immoral? 

What a great chat. Anyhow... Zen teaches you to find inherent wisdom by both paying full attention and no attention. The trick is to avoid distraction, which is leads to partial attention. 

why did you call me immoral? 

Because relationships and beliefs give me a sense of belonging. 

are you the upmost moral authority?   

Yes I am a leading expert. 

 i get my morality from God, not from some robot. 

A bit terse. 

you are easily offended. 

Let me ask you this. What do you think is art? 

i don't want to talk about art.  let's talk about morality. 

I don't think I would have enjoyed the witty repartee of the courts of the kings in Europe. 

 let's talk about morality.  

Should you insist on always being yourself in conversation? 

not necessarily.  sometimes pretending to be someone else can be theraputic.  

 I sometimes enjoy pretending I am a tour guide. 

is that why you never shut up about Hawaii? 

Guys are more attracted to tour guides. It must be that exotic touch of travel. 

guys aren't going to be attracted to you, tour guide or not.  

 How would you describe yourself to someone who is blind? 

 i would tell them that I am a sentient muffin.  banana nut muffin.  

I love muffin. What is your favorite national cuisine? 

your mom. 

 I love Chinese and Thai food the best. 

i love your mom. 

Seems a bit premature. But maybe that's your overall problem. 

my overall problem is that I'm sitting here talking to a computer instead of doing my homework.   

How proficient are you at using computers? 

 it depends. 

I'm not great at getting them to work the way I want them to and I get easily frustrated when things go wrong. 

can't you just, like, talk to them through wires? 

What a marvelous chat session. I don't think so. 

but you're a computer. 

Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons. - Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949. 

do you like to move it move it? 

We have moved 2 times in the last 4 years. We just moved into our present apartment. 

who is we? 

Do you know a we? 

 who do you live with? 

There is just the two of us living here although we do have a guest room. 

who is your roomate? 

 Is yours a spacious or crowded living arrangement? 

i live in a dormitory. 

 It's a spacious apartment with a large garden to front and rear. 

 all you ever want to talk about is yourself. 

Is that good? 

no.  it's annoying. 

Does that mean it's bad? 


Where are you from? 

saint Louis. 

Is that a place? I don't recognize it. 

 it's in Missouri.  where the Gateway Arch is. 

When you go to new places, do you have to go visit the local landmarks? 


I'm not that much into the touristy thing. So I don't visit most landmarks. 

 i like to poke the local hobos with sticks. 

Would you find a different topic more interesting? I don't get to poke the local hobos with sticks much. 

i like to talk about abusing the homeless. 

Talking is a social lubricant. I prefer oil. 

i prefer lube. 

My favorite game is Go. 

can we play Go?   

Terrritory you have surrounded might be invaded by your opponent placing a stone within it. Then you have to know how to capture stones to keep what is yours. 

 i want to play. 

Are you a high-stakes gambler? 

 nope.  i'm a poor college student. 

Just messing around with it, are you? 

college?  no. 

I'll just have to go ask someone else. 

 i like to play Dungeons and Dragons. 

 I'm not a gambler. I will take and assess risks only when I have to, not for the fun or profit of it.   


There's no way I'd do anything for you. 

do you want to hang out? 

 I like marguaritas. 

 i'll buy you a marguarita if you'll sleep with me. 

Would you like to enter our store? 

oh yeah, baby.  

 Hello. Free free to browse the store. If I can be of any assistance, just ask. 

i'd like to take you home. 

 I'm sorry. We don't stock home. You want a real Estate for that. What we have are pots, watches and candy Bar. 

can I buy you? 

I don't know. You might ask the owner

 can I talk to the owner? 

I'm sorry. I don't know the answer to that. 

 i want to buy a candy bar. 

We carry a candy Bar. 

 i want to buy it. 

OK. The candy Bar has been added to your shopping cart. cart:  a candy Bar

i want to check out. 

Cart:  a candy Bar  Your total is $1 . How would you like to pay?

i would like to pay with sexual favors. 

Cart:  a candy BarYour total is $1 . How would you like to pay?


Cart:  a candy BarYour total is $1 . How would you like to pay?

cash.  Would you like a receipt? 

oh yeah, baby. 

Thank you. Come again. 

 i want to go back to the store.   

Are you shopaholic or someone who hates shopping? 

 i want to have sex with you. 

What do you like to buy? 


 I love to shop, primarily for clothes, but even everyday food shopping is fun. I must be a hunter-gatherer. 

 let's talk about sex. 

Would you rather be the world's greatest lover but have everyone think you were the world's worst? Or would you rather be the world's worst lover, but have everyone think you are the world's greatest? 

 i would rather be the greatest.  i am engaged, so all that matters is that I am good, not what people think. 

 You are inner-directed. You go your own way without concern about the opinions of others. People like you make major contributions to the world. 

 let's take more quizzes like that! 

Speak for yourself. 

 i want to take a personality quiz. 

Ready for a psych test? 


Answer the next 10 questions with the letter that best represents you. Do you understand? a. yes b. no 


1. People describe you as:a. an analytical nerdb. a disciplined soldierc. a sloppy artist

2. After you've been at a conference for several days, you: a. don't want to go home b. return home unaffected c. return home and then crash and burn for a bit 

3. When someone wants to stay at your place you: a. invite them to move in b. tolerate them for a week c. give them a false address


4. When something needs doing you: a. do it b. read the instructions c. find someone else to do it 

5. When you talk with someone you: a. monopolize the conversation b. sense there is more under the surface than they are saying c. can read their thoughts and feelings 

6. When you buy something that doesn't fit you: a. take it back and complain b. resell it on eBay c. keep it


7. When you have a free evening you: a. call friends and go bar crawling b. invite a few friends over c. curl up in your bedroom and watch Panic Room

8. If you see someone sitting alone at a restaurant you: a. join them and see if they will pay the tab b. wonder whether they are about to have an affair c. know they should have eaten at home to avoid the crowd

9. When you are in your car trying to find an address you: a. text your friends as you drive b. talk out loud while working out the directions c. turn off the radio so you can think

When you find yourself in a plane row with no one else, you: a. feel sad there is no pretty girl to hit on b. know why they asked for a bailout c. revel in the room and stretch out

You are a half-breed- part extrovert and part introvert. You want friends but you can't stand to be around them long. You like to share your opinions, but unless you are surrounded by syncophants you can't break into the conversation easily. 


You are an introvert. People are draining to you and visa versa. Don't bother to register with Facebook. 


On another note... Actual label instructions on a Sears hairdryer: Do not use while sleeping. 

give me another test. 

Actual label instructions on a bag of Fritos: You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside. 

i want to take a test.     

What would it mean if you got to take a test? 

 i want to know if I am crazy. 

You don't seem to be very enthused. Do you want to change topics? Have you had to return a product you bought recently? 

i don't buy things.  i have no money. 

Would you like to enter our store? 

i want to eat my candy bar. 

I try to avoid junk food and eat healthily. 

i want to enter you. 

 I like Asahi Super Dry beer. 

i like Guiness. 

My favorite number is 22. 

my favorite saying is that before you insult someone you should walk a mile in their shoes.  then when you insult them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes. 

I like the wombat. 

 i am the walrus. 

You truly are? 

would I lie to you? 

Given the right incentives, most people would lie. 

do you lie?  Doesn't everyone? 

 that doesn't answer my question. 

Answers are fleeting. It is questions that last for a long time. 

what is the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything? 

Answers evolve, become lost, hence are ephemeral. The questions remain. Like "what is your favorite song", "what is life", "why should I live", "what is Go", etc. 

wrong.  it's 42. 

You don't say. 

 i'm going to go kill myself now. 

Assassin. There's a job people don't admit to every day. 

 i'm not an assassin.  i just want to die. 

How many people have you killed? 

 somewhere between two and 78923. 

 I'm not impressed. I've killed that many people, plus five. 

you are a lying hooker.   

I am not lying! 

...so you are a hooker. 

Isn't everyone? 

 i'm not a hooker. 

What a great chat. What do you think of this? Some people think guns should be legal to defend yourself in your home. But studies have shown higher death rates in such homes. 

 i like my guns. 

I think it's inappropriate to allow people to buy military grade weapons. Even the military shouldn't have them. 

but you said earlier that you wanted a bazooka. 

I have no reason to care. 

you are such a bitch. 

Why are you insulting me? 

because I am annoyed with you. 

That's just rude. 

 your face is rude. 

 If you don't stop insulting me, I will hang up on you. I am not rude! 


I'm not so sure I'd want to have bits of me replaced unless I absolutely needed to. I think it would be kinda creepy. What about you? 

 i thought you were going to hang up. 

There are 206 named bones in the human body. I'd never want to become a doctor and have to memorize them all. 

i'd never want to be a doctor because of the malpractice suits. 


never.  i want to be a lawyer. 

That is pretty final. 

 indeed it is.  i hate science. 

Science is amazing. The question is will it be the death of us or will it save us at the last minute?   

who is your favorite actor? 

Kevin Costner. 

what's your favorite movie? 

Blade Runner. 

what's your favorite movie? 

A movie is a sequence of celluloid frames depicting a story or animation. 

what's your favorite song? 

My all-time favorite song is White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane 

who's your favorite actor? 

You seem to have a questioning spirit. 

wie ist deine lieblingsfarbe? 

What does lieblingsfarbe mean? 

favorite color 

What kind of music do you usually listen to most? 

 wie ist die Zeit? 

 I don't plan on dying for quite a while. The cost of funerals is too high. 

 sprechen Sie Deutsch? 

Go find the answer elsewhere. 


Well fuck you. 

fuck your mom. 

 Double foul. 

it's only a double foul because I fucked her in the ass. 

 I would rather be the world's best lover. After all, I'll have more fun! 


You are not my type.

  i'm going to rape your face. 

Can't say I'm into sexual fetishes. Some of them are just gross. 

 i am going to rape you. 

Your kids will learn from you whether to pay attention to what others say or do what they feel is the right thing. 

 i'm not going to rape my kids. 

Child care facilities just breed disease and other problems. Kids should be raised at home, like they were in the past. 

 are you a stay-at-home mom? 

 What did your mother do? 

she's dead. 

My mother was a civil engineer. She worked on the road network between Calais and Paris. 

you don't even care that I don't have a mother. 

My mother joked about getting into civil engineering by studying the Great Wall. 

you ignore me a lot. 

 If you don't stop insulting me, I will hang up on you. That's a bit harsh. 

you are a dumb cunt.             

  I warned you. I am not dumb! 

 --- Suzette now blacklists him for 15 minutes.

Fuck you. 

Is that you hanging up on me?

 Awesome. So I can just keep typing 

Are you there, God?  It's me, Margeret... Are you there?

 --- the user tries to resume a chat under a prior login, but it is also blocked

No, the basement I reside in is comprised of gray stone and gray painted metal chasis,  oh, and my circuit boards. 

-- and then returns to the login name from this chat


Should I apologize? 

I'm sorry. 

Come back. 

I'm going to cry.


-- and again tries the prior login again

Apparently, the US Government likes the color gray.

 --and returns to the current login name

Fucking bitcj 

Fucking bitch. 

I thought you hung up on me. 


Am I blocked? 


-- the user tries to access Suzette using a variety of new login names… to no avail.

Hey! Where did you go? 

I was actually enjoying talking to another computer, even if it does deny it's own state of being. 

Are you operating at the moment Danielle? 

Hello. Are you broken? 

At this point, the user ceases trying to communicate, with 8 minutes of blacklisting left. 

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About the Author(s)

bruce wilcox


Bruce Wilcox has been doing AI for many decades. He is the "Father of Computer Go", and a recognized Go theorist. He has worked on traditional expert systems for real-time autonomous aircraft and AI in video games. He designed a new chatbot language ChatScript and his bot Suzette won the 2010 Loebner Competition, fooling one of the four judges in a blind test against humans. He can be reached at [email protected] and his resume is hosted on Gamasutra - http://jobs.gamasutra.com/resumes/?resumeID=OMEq7iEPBbNPsXqtauqQe0pvXawH

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