[…] The terms for discussing chatbots are starting to solidify on this site, thanks to the work of Jeremy and Christy. I wanted to take some time to open up the discussion to more people and to try to formalize some of our basic terms, especially as I find myself getting to the point in my writing where I need to define them. The definitions which follow build upon a number of important posts on this site, most notably: Bots, Demons & Dolls. (These definitions represent my current use of these terms and do not reflect official WRT standards). […]]]>
I’ve also been following the poker-bots stories with some interest - I love these running fire fights between the human and expert systems. Some related issues:
The spam wars, in particular the bringing of Bayesian analysis to bear on the problem and the corresponding rise of supermutated prose spam and random content spam.
Arimaa - a very fun game, but more importantly a response to the history of chess computing, and an explicit attempt to optimize a deterministic system to play to the strengths of human vs machine intelligence.]]>
In 1999, I was crazy about the idea of Catz - not personally a power user (although I tried it and thought it was a lot of fun), but I found something really compelling about the fact of the online communities trading and designing and sharing pictures etc. - Petz automatically inspired these webring cultures that were different than a lot of the portal-cultures dot-com companies were trying to foster then. There was something that felt authentically folk about them, like the spontaneous outpouring of enthusiasm when people show you vacation slides or wallet photos.]]>
Welcome, Leonard, would you flesh out some of your thoughts about poker-playing bots and how it fit with your conceptualization of bots?]]>
Well, it’s kind of tragic — but not long after my book was published, I became quite distracted with chasing another story, the free software/open source movement, which had only a tangential relationship to the topic of “bots.” So I can’t say I have kept up with the field in any kind of rigorous way.
However, I was intrigued by the recent rash of stories about online poker-playing bots — to me, everything represented by the challenges of autonomous poker-playing bots followed directly along the lines I was pursuing in “bots.” It could easily have been another chapter.
I think that advances in artifical intelligence have continued to move very slowly, but all the same, there have been lots of incremental improvements in software that have made autonomous or semi-autonomous software programs ever more reliable and useful. I also think that what I called the “technodialectic” is still in full force. Technical solutions to problems posed by autonomous software (spambots etc) only result in more sophisticated challenges. And so on and so forth.]]>