I’ve previously written about the chatbot, Ramona which was created by the inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil (for my earlier posts please go to http://kevin-morris.co.uk/2011/02/18/fancy-being-served-by-ramona-a-virtual-waitress/). Ramona resides on the internet and can be found at www.kurzweilai.net. The idea behind the Ramona Project is to create an artificially intelligent entity/chatbot which, through her interactions with humans develops ever greater intellectual capabilities. Eventually Kurzweil believes we will reach “the singularity”, (the point at which machine intelligence surpasses that of humans. Ramona is a step along the road of ushering in the Singularity which Kurzweil contends should occur in 2045.
Today’s issue of the kurzweilai.net newsletter contains a link, to an actual reprint of a conversation between a human and Ramona (see http://www.kurzweilai.net/chat-highlights-with-ramona-shrinking-technology?utm_source=KurzweilAI+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=4a3c029a8e-UA-946742-1&utm_medium=email). While Ramona certainly appears to be able to converse (at a basic level) her conversational abilities still demonstrate (quite clearly) that one is talking with a robot rather than a human. For example the human asks Ramona what she likes reading to which she responds “Wikapeidia”. On being asked why she enjoys reading Wikapeidia Ramona’s reply is to state what Wikapeidia is (rather than, as an intelligent human would to explain why she finds the content of Wikapeidia so fascinating).
From the above linked to conversation it appears that Ramona is, still some way off from passing the Turing Test.
I’d like to chat with Ramona, however it appears that the latest version of the chatbot is not compatible with Jaws (the software which I, as a blind person use to convert text into speech and Braille).