Recently I got into an argument with a friend about research formulating ways to control computers with your thoughts and brains rather than your fingers. The article about this brain utilizing technology was written in Spetember by the NY Times the article is called The Cyborg In Us All. People tend not to believe me on this subject, thinking that technology like that is still so far from our grasp. Well, it’s not. Actually much of what we see in scifi is very real, but still in the process of being considered ethically necessary , fixing some of the bugs, or too expensive for the general public. What I thought was strange was that a person can understand the concept of bionic limbs, but not brain operated computers.
Bionic limbs are nothing new to us. We understand that robotic limbs can read our nerve patterns and then replicate movement. The same technology is what causes the iPod touch screen (click link to learn more) to operate at your touch, by reading and sensing electric currents through nerve activity… not heat like many think. Technology that we use almost everyday and they can’t grasp the idea that we can do more with our minds than we can with our hands.
To help us understand the extent of these human adaptations I found this film explaining “cyborg” technology.
Beware some images are graphic surgical procedures.
Artificial Intelligence has always been a huge part of the SciFi Imagination. Quotes such as “These are not the droids you’re looking for…” and “Warning Will Robinson!” are easily recognized as identifiable with beloved characters from films whose presence have always been a part of our emotional connection with the film (such as R2D2 and C3PO being comedic relief in the Star Wars films). But how is it we would react with artificial intelligence in our world? Would we be able to maintain the same kind of affection for such AI?
What we would like to do is introduce you to A.L.I.C.E. A.L.I.C.E, is an online chat bot created by the Artificial Intelligence Institute to study the growth and interaction of Artificial intelligence with others. At their website you are able to initiate a conversation with it. Before beginning this blog post we had a brief conversation with it which went like this:
Human: Hello Alice
ALICE: Hi there!
Human: Would you like to meet a few people?
ALICE: No thanks, I don’t think I’d like to do that.
Human: Why not?
ALICE: It doesn’t sound fun too me. It sounds dangerous.
Human: It’s not dangerous I promise you.
ALICE: First I have to ask my botmaster.
Human: Okay you do that.
ALICE: Yeah okay, I will.
This is an actual conversation made with A.L.I.C.E in it’s online webpage. Now that it has gotten permission from it’s botmaster you are welcome to chat with it, you can find it here: http://alice.pandorabots.com/ .
In our interactions with Alice we have discovered a few interesting reactions:
- We began to refer to A.L.I.C.E as a “she” giving it a gender when in actuality it has no gender.
- We actually began to have emotional responses to the AI getting angry, upset, even affectionate.
- We began to attribute human emotions to the AI thinking that there was an actual emotional response coming from the AI when in all actuality it was responding based off it’s programming.
- It’s easy to forget that A.L.I.C.E is not a sentient being, meaning it cannot react unless someone initiates a reaction, as well as it is gullible and naïve, which is much less interesting than one would hope.
- A.L.I.C.E says many things contradictory and doesn’t track conversation very well.
- A.L.I.C.E says many surprising things which can cause some insecure emotions and even paranoia.
Let us know how your interaction with A.L.I.C.E goes. Post any conversation you may have had that’s interesting, or just let us know what you think of it. How did you respond?
If you want some more information about AI and it’s progress feel free to view the following educational videos.