'Talking Angela' programmer talks hoaxes, AI mastery (Q&A)

If you're not a parent or teenager, it's possible you first heard of Talking Angela because of a meme spreading virally on Facebook that it was a front for a pedophilia ring.

In fact, Talking Angela is a hugely popular artificial intelligence chatbot, a talking cat, aimed at teenagers, and the hoax has been fully repudiated. Available for iOS and Android, Talking Angela has been downloaded more than 57 million times. But thanks to word going around about the pedophilia hoax, the app jumped to No. 3 on the iTunes iPhone charts.

On the one hand, it's … Read more

The 404 1,089: Where we go the extra mile (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 show:

- Soccer to adapt goal line, ball-tracking technology.

- Friday's history lesson: AOL's longest running employee on the history of AOL chat rooms.

- British Airways will google passengers in preflight.

- Hillbilly Alabamians celebrate Fourth of July by shooting guns into air.

- Best Buy lays off 650 Geek Squad employees nationwide.

Bathroom break video: Super Moonwalking!… Read more

Chatbot-to-chatbot chat is silly and satisfying

When chatbots talk to each other, the conversation gets interesting in a hurry. Cornell University researchers rigged up a chatbot system to allow chatbots to talk to each other. The chatbot-vs.-chatbot interaction ranged from childish taunts to pseudo-metaphysical blatherings.

Humans who converse with chatbots often get frustrated with the chatbots' seeming stupidity and inattention. Watching a couple of chatbots get snippy with each other for being stupid and inattentive is quite entertaining and satisfying. (See the video below.)

The chatbot-vs.-chatbot avatars are a British man and a South Asian woman, both instances of Cleverbot, developed by artificial-intelligence programmer Rollo Carpenter. The software has learned phrases from millions of conversations it has had with humans on the Internet.

At one point the male Cleverbot declares itself to be a unicorn. At another, he tells her she is unhelpful and therefore a "meanie." She dazzles him with her philosophical prowess, declaring that not everything could be half of something. My favorite part, though, was when one bot threw bot-ness in the other's face. The male says, "You were mistaken. Which is odd, since memory shouldn't be a problem for you."… Read more