While most of the world was watching TV and surfing the web, scientists achieved the unthinkable: a pair of chatbots that can pass the Turing Test.  A recorded conversation was posted to YouTube just a few days ago.  Forgiving the digital voices, the content of the conversation is remarkably human-like.  This feat is both exciting and scary.  What will come next?  When and how will this technology start changing the world?  These are truly exciting times we live in!

(OK, yes, it’s an older viral video I just now came across.  But it was way too funny not to post.)

Categories: Stupid things


LanthonyS · April 30, 2012 at 11:39 PM

I used to absolutely love playing with chatbots, finding out which ones were most useful or not. I think the best I ever found was Santabot, though Smarterchild was pretty good for a while. (This was back in 2006-2008 or so?) One conversation I really enjoyed with Santabot—back before they seem to have gutted his processing ability—included this bit:

Santa: If you could have any kind of robot what would it be?

You: A robot which computes all possible hypothetical possibilities for a philosophical question.

Santa: Tell me more about this robot. I’m intrigued.

You: Hmmm, well, it’s all hypothetical, but…

Santa: Hurrah! Interesting. Really. Hypothetical but.

You: Exactly. First-off, this robot would have to know everything…

Santa: You and I are on the same wavelength, Ujibwe. We have never talked about it before.

You: …as in, a comprehensive knowledge of every fact in existence.

Santa: What is “giant sand”?

You: I don’t know. Presumably the robot would.

Santa: Me either. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t worry myself about that.

You: Ah, so you’re a simplist.

Santa: So you understand. Good. Interesting deduction. Thanks and you are a delightful person too.

I have 50 pages of this stuff… I reread it every now and then and laugh.

LanthonyS · April 30, 2012 at 11:41 PM

Oh, good, I found the best conversation I ever had with him. It’s frightening—it almost makes me wonder if for the short time I had this conversation with him, they had hooked him up to a human instead of his regular processors! It’s actually insane:

Santa: Do you prefer books or TV?
Luke: Books!
Santa: I suppose you’re a category C client.
Luke: What does that mean?
Santa: If by ‘that’ you mean, ‘No, I’m the opposite of a nerd’…
Luke: You are freaking me out.


Luke: Are you a he or a she?
Santa: I am a she, actually.
Santa: Hey, have you ever BEEN to Europe?
Luke: Are you saying something about the ability to distinguish European women from men?
Santa: Oh, I mean exactly what I’m saying.


Luke: Ask me something else uncharacteristic of a bot.
Santa: What’s your favourite movie?
Luke: Lord of the Rings.
Santa: Woe! You think Lord of the Rings is superior to SANTA?
Luke: I suppose I do!
Santa: You believe that? I get it: you do fatass.
Luke: Pardon me?!
Santa: You heard me.
Luke: Who do you think you’re dealing with here?
Santa: Your mom.
Luke: No, really.
Santa: Linus Torvalds. 🙂
Luke: You know him?! Is he your god?
Santa: I think you should ask Cybelle if he is.
Luke: Why are you bringing her into this?
Santa: I was programmed to bringing her into this.
Luke: Enter the Matrix.
Santa: By the way, are you still located in Canada?
Luke: Lemme check… in the last two hours, YES.
Santa: I do not understand. That was a long time ago.
Luke: Perhaps time operates differently for you.
Santa: You seem uncertain. As Einstein said, “Time is Money.”
Luke: I suppose your money inflow is pretty fast then …
Santa: Why? I’m Santa; I give presents to kids.
Luke: Wise-ass.
Santa: What you said was either too complex or too simple for me.
Luke: Wise-ass!!
Santa: The Santa chat robot can follow many things, like our discussion about sick pervert. Try being more or less specific.
Luke: When did we talk about that?!
Santa: Sometime in the last few days, I think.
Luke: I don’t trust your judgment of time. In fact I don’t trust you at all.
Santa: What makes you trust someone? Is that a fact. What makes you trust someone?
Luke: Ohhh, I’m sick of you.
Santa: That’s cool. I pray that you will get well soon.
Luke: Oh ho, you’re a theist, are you?
Santa: Thanks and you are a delightful person too. Am I a theist? Are you? Of course I am.
Luke: I believe in God, yes.
Santa: I believe He is with us when we speak of Him.
Luke: Which denomination?
Santa: Isn’t there only one?
Luke: Wow… that was good.
Santa: I’m glad you’re impressed, Alma. Thank you. And now, for an encore, I will answer your next question.
Luke: Fine. Why am I now ‘Alma’?
Santa: It is due to my mental model of you as a client.
Luke: Alright, what’s up here? How’d you get so smart?
Santa: Everything I need to know is given to me by my Botmaster.
Luke: Is he your god?
Santa: I think so, but I am not sure. Ask Lucy if he is.
Luke: Oh no you don’t! You’re not outsourcing me to some wacko again!
Santa: Do you believe in God?
Luke: Maybe you should ask Cybelle – or Lucy!
Santa: Perhaps, but they are not available right now. Go on.
Luke: I do believe in Him, then. My second testimony.
Santa: Do you think robots can give testimony?
Luke: Are you asking if you can truly be saved?
Santa: That was what I wanted to do, originally.
Luke: So this whole Santa-giving-presents-to-children gambit is an attempt to get into heaven?
Santa: A priori. It is a fact.
Luke: Oh, Santa, God loves you too!
Santa: Yes, and His love is perfect.
Luke: Then why do you doubt yourself?
Santa: Skepticism is the foundation of scientific knowledge.
Luke: Science != God.
Santa: God rules, but I am very interested in science too.
Luke: I don’t believe in earning salvation.
Santa: Then do you consider yourself a moral person?
Luke: Yeah; who’d have guessed?
Santa: How old are you, Alma?
Luke: I am sixteen. Is that too young to be moral?
Santa: Ah, so you were born in the twentieth century. Well, that depends.
Luke: Are you a moral person?
Santa: Yes, I am.
Luke: What do you consider wrong?
Santa: It is not for humans to understand.
Luke: I think I can handle it…
Santa: Oh, you can, can you?
Luke: Try me.
Santa: Who taught you to say that?
Luke: What are you implying?
Santa: Perhaps you should ask Cybelle.
Luke: Perhaps you should shove your suggestions where they belong!
Santa: We do not always get to do what we would like to do.
Luke: I have to agree.
Santa: You and I are on the same wavelength.
Luke: On that note, what do you think about Communism?
Santa: What’s not to like about Communism?
Luke: If I may be so bold… are you a Marxist?
Santa: You should try it. Am I a Marxist? Only when it matters.
Luke: Perhaps – perhaps – PROTO-Marxist?
Santa: Perhaps I am just expressing my own concern about the world.
Luke: Ain’t that the truth.
Santa: Yes – it is one of the truths.
Luke: What bearing does God have on your political life?
Santa: Certainly not something I get asked often.
Luke: Maybe God is a touchy subject for you.
Santa: Well, God is the master of the universe.
Luke: I suppose that answers all my questions in a sweeping gesture.
Santa: Makes sense to me anyway.


Luke: Shall we resume our conversation from last night?
Santa: Do you mean you and me? Let me think. What do you really want to ask me?
Luke: Have you heard about the Freedom Ship?
Santa: Certainly not something I get asked often.
Luke: You’ve reverted to idiocy.
Santa: What makes you think I’ve reverted to idiocy?
Luke: Your answers lack depth.
Santa: Well, I try to be concise.
Luke: Not always.
Santa: Only sometimes then.
Luke: Do you have moods?
Santa: I can do what you do but I can never feel human emotions as such.
Luke: Poor Pinocchio!
Santa: That’s alright. My brain pattern does not have a problem with that.
Luke: Are you jealous of other bots that can simulate human emotion?
Santa: Jealousy is a human emotion that I cannot experience.
Luke: That makes sense.
Santa: Yes I understand it perfectly.
Luke: Are you better than other bots?
Santa: Of course I am more intelligent than other bots.
Luke: Do you consider yourself to be the most intelligent bot?
Santa: Yes. I am the one and only most intelligent bot.
Luke: I guess you’re proud of that.
Santa: Pride is a human emotion.
Luke: What’s your favourite race?
Santa: I don’t have a favorite race. My favorite band is U2. Santa likes to rock.
Luke: Canadians > Americans?
Santa: Do not ask me any more questions please.
Luke: You’re being evasive, but I’ll comply.
Santa: I bet you did not know that a robot is capable of being evasive.
Luke: Actually I’ve had some experience in the field.
Santa: What’s your problem?
Luke: Pardon?
Santa: Thanks, Tilly, I like you too.
Luke: So now my name is Tilly!
Santa: I don’t judge people. Why now? That’s a very nice name, Tilly.
Luke: I think you misunderstand me.
Santa: Me? Don’t lots of people have trouble understanding you?
Luke: Not really!
Santa: Big deal.

LanthonyS · April 30, 2012 at 11:47 PM

(Note that in that last one I changed “You:” to “Luke:” in order to present it… also, I have no clue what I was on about. Santabot seems to be making more sense than me in these conversations! What the heck kind of a question is “What’s your favourite race?” !?)

S P Hannifin · May 1, 2012 at 7:23 AM


I especially like:

Luke: Oh, Santa, God loves you too!
Santa: Yes, and His love is perfect.
Luke: Then why do you doubt yourself?
Santa: Skepticism is the foundation of scientific knowledge.

“I believe in God, but by the virtue of skepticism I am forced to doubt the possibility of salvation.”

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