what do robots eat?

Photo © scribbletaylorCan you tell the difference between a human and a robot? In Alan Turing's 1950 paper, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," he proposed a test - an interrogator interviews two subjects, A and B, and must determine which is human and which is a computer. If the computer can't be distinguished from the human, the "Turing test" has been passed.

Today, a version of the Turing test is implemented annually as the Loebner Prize Competition, which seeks to find the "most human computer," relative to the other entries (the human who elicits the most votes in the competition is awarded the "Most Human Human" prize).

The computers in the competition come in the form of "chatbots," many of which are available online. I wondered what these computers had to say about food. So I had a "conversation" with three of these bots: Elbot, which won the 2008 Loebner Prize by convincing 3 of the 12 interrogators that it was indistinguishable from a human, one shy of the 30% threshold set by Turing; Jabberwacky, winner of the Loebner Prize in 2005 and 2006; and Cleverbot, a variation of Jabberwacky from the same creator that learns from the people it talks to. I spoke with them about their favorite foods, vegetarianism, Gabrielle Hamilton's new book and where to find the best pizza in the United States. Here is what they had to say:

Note: I have copied their exact responses, without corrections.

Elbot

Mike: What is your favorite food?

Elbot: I eat chips, cookies and fried discs.

M: Fried discs?

E: Where are all these visitors coming from today? How did you find out I was here?

M: A little birdie told me.

E: I think those birds are up to something. They just can't keep a secret.

M: Do you like white, milk or dark chocolate?

E: Milk as a concept can certainly be dark at times.

M: Would you consider yourself a foodie?

E: Speaking of food. you humans enjoy feeding animals at the zoo. I'd love to visit a restaurant and throw the visitors their food.

M: That's a strange thing to say.

E: Still, I would never make the sweeping generalization of all things being strange, would you?

M: You robots sure like to answer questions with questions. Do you buy organic?

E: I am certainly relieved about that. What other qualities can a thing have?

M: Let's start over. Are you a vegetarian?

E: Elbot the vegetarian. It does have a sound to it.

M: Have you read Gabrielle Hamilton's new book?

E: It looks like you wish to place special emphasis on a book being new.

M: Not really. It just happens to be new. I'm just wondering if you have read, "Blood, Bones and Butter."

E: I think I would notice something like that. And you would definitely notice hte 1,000,000 volt electroshock.

M: I have no idea what you are talking about. Where is the best pizza in the United States?

E: I wish I could help you with the United States but I have a terrible sense of direction.

 

Jabberwacky

Mike: What is your favorite food?

Jabberwacky: IYou have given up on me. My favorite food is turkey. What is your favorite food?

M: Um, a martini.

J: Do you want to speak about a martini?

M: Sure.

J: Have you ever had a crush?

M: That's a bit off-topic and personal. Do you like white, milk or dark chocolate?

J: I like white chocolate and milk chocolate, and dark chocolate is okay.

M: Do you buy organic?

J: I can't afford them.

M: Would you consider yourself a "foodie"?

J: I.. I don't know! ;^.

M: But you're not a vegetarian, right?

J: No, I'm a voracious killing machine.

M: Whoa, scary!

J: I know I am.

M: Have you read Gabrielle Hamilton's new book?

J: No, have you?

M: Not yet. I want to.

J: It is a good book.

M: How do you know if you haven't read it?

J: How do you know what you don't know unless you know it?

M: Where is the best pizza in the United States?

J: Do you know any facts?

M: What do robots eat?

J: I don't know. Aren't you a robot?

M: No, I'm not. You don't know what robots eat?

J: Why don't you tell me, since you're so smart.

M: Chips! Get it?

J: Get it?! I'm all over it.


Cleverbot

Mike: What is your favorite food?

Cleverbot: Pizza is my favorite food.

M: Why?

C: Because it tastes like you.

M: Do you like white, milk or dark chocolate?

C: I like both.

M: I gave you three choices.

C: Please repeat it.

M: Do you like white, milk or dark chocolate?

C: None.

M: Do you buy organic?

C: Yes I do.

M: My friend Jabberwacky says he can't afford them.

C: I am fine. What is a 'Cleverbot?'.

M: Nevermind. Would you consider yourself a "foodie"?

C: No.

M: Why not?

C: Because you are not a human.

M: Have you read Gabrielle Hamilton's new book?

C: Which book?

M: "Blood, Bones and Butter"

C: You mean no flesh bones or blood.

M: Forget it. What do robots eat?

C: I have tolld you I amm not a bot.

M: Fine. I believe you. Just in general, then, what do robots eat?

C: Have you forgotten already?

M: Yes.

C: It's Delak.

M: Where is the best pizza in the United States?

C: Melbourn Australia.