When I was younger I once decided to make a Eliza-like
AI program. Now me being a young geek I had recently read
The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy and it being one of the
more amazing books I had read to date it was obvious who
I'd model it off... Marvin. Of course I messed up and called
it Marvin, the Depressed Robot but hey, he was really
depressed not paranoid...
For those of you who don't know the original Eliza uses
a nifty little algorithm that basicly looks for pronouns and
some common verbs and turns them around, "You are stupid."
becomes "What makes you think I am stupid?" Well I was 12
at the time and didn't know about pronouns and verbs nor was
too interested in learning, so I used keyword scanning. I
had 3 sections, computer terms, life terms and family terms.
Both computer terms and life terms had a hardcoded response,
"Can we talk about something else?" and "Life, don't talk
about it." Family terms had a few basic "I don't care
about your (insert term)" type things. As a fall back I
added some random phrases like "Could you just go away?"
and "Brain the...Oh whats the use?"
Of course in practice no-one ever triggered my terms and
only the 10 random responses were ever used. What's funny
is what happened when I took the whole mess to the science
fair. The first day I was the second-most popular project,
the first being a Tesla Coil, but by the second day I
was the most popular and had a constant 10-20 people trying
to get a seat! People were absolutely fascinated by a
program with no sound or graphics that just spit out
depressive-sounding phrases. And the judges even gave me
one of the 15 or so silver medals given out.
Joseph Weizenbaum should have just given Eliza
a mental disorder...