Cleverbot is an interesting project that just recently crossed my radarscreen. I like the online interface, and it has also brought an interesting instance of the Turing test to my attention. In this case it is rapid fire Turing tests, where the participants rate “how human” something is on a scale from 0-100 percent. Cleverbot, in one of its incarnations, got to 42.1% human.
This highlights a weakness of the Turing test, I think. The notion that something can be somewhat human is clearly wrong, a misuse of the concept humanity. Or is it? Worrying examples from human history indicate that we think this way about enemies, other tribes and other races to an extent that is awful. We dehumanize that which we think we need to destroy, or that which threatens us, for scares us. But would any racist say that another race is just 42.1% percent human? No, probably not. It doesn’t work that way. We would probably agree with them being human or we would define them as something else. Being human might actually be far more binary than we think.
In one way, however, cleverbot is a great example of the limitations of the Turing test. But it has also produced some great humor. Witness this fantastic video on cleverbot talking to another instance of itself, to see how language sounds when it, truly, runs on empty.
My favorite comment. “I am not a robot. I am a unicorn”.
An interesting aside. Their discussion sounds very much like an old married couple arguing in parts. Myabe that is also language running on empty…
But I may be a “meanie”.