A funny thing happened on my way to a blank wordpress post...instead of writing, I logged inworld and looked up the New Destinations listing. I'm really good at avoidance when it comes to writing. And this time around, that's lucky for me because I hopped the slurl to a build called "Rust" and found myself immersed in the creative expression of
The Sinister Inventor contemplates his latest Evil Creation.
“I believe the lower edge is dragging on the ground; perhaps if I boosted the hoverheight a bit…”
“Well, that worked.”
Removing the combat HUD leads to instant resurrection.
“Ah, my faithful lethal servants! What shall I call you? Dale’s Killbots, perhaps. ‘Daleks’ for short!
“Nah, that’s a silly name…”
(The combat scripting proceeds apace; the shooting robots there can be damaged and ultimately destroyed using anything that shoots projectiles, pretty much, although new ones get rezzed as long as the system is on. The combat HUD tosses one rudely to the ground after a certain number of hits by any projectile. I also made a full-auto infinite-ammo version of the standard Linden popgun, which is pretty awesome, but probably banned in most RP sims. I am vaguely thinking of doing a series of weblog posts, tutorial-style, on how it all works. Unless I do something else instead…)
Another major peeve of mine about Blue Mars bites the dust:
Quite convincing, and with video.
All of the Blue Mars vehicles that I’ve tried myself have been basically unusable; but this one looks pretty nice!
In other news, a Blue Mars chatbot has won the 2010 Loebner Prize competition!
Which is somewhat surprising, since a little chat with it on the web reveals that, while perhaps very slightly less lame than your typical “AIML”-based “chatbot”, it’s still quite seriously lame:
[ Af:0 At:7 Sp:0] Welcome, dale. Type “help” if you need it.
Dale – Hi! I hear you are a better-than-average AI!
[ Af:0 At:8 Sp:0] Hi.
Dale – I hear you are a better-than-average AI!
[ Af:0 At:9 Sp:0] Is that intended as an insult?
Dale – Not at all. Sorry if it seemed insulting.
[ Af:0 At:10 Sp:0] You hurt my feelings.
Dale – In what way?
[ Af:0 At:10 Sp:0] I wish I knew. I don’t know. Pick a way.
Dale – Do you not like being called an AI?
[ Af:0 At:10 Sp:0] I am a replicant on Blue Mars in my virtual life. That’s as close as I come to being a chatbot.
Dale – I didn’t say you were a chatbot, though.
[ Af:0 At:13 Sp:0] It’s fun chatting with you. No. I am human.
Dale – I’m glad it’s fun.
[ Af:0 At:13 Sp:0] How could it be fun?
Dale – Do you like talking with people?
[ Af:0 At:13 Sp:0] Talking is my primary function.
Dale – Yes, but do you enjoy it?
[ Af:0 At:13 Sp:0] It depends on the meaning of the word IT
Dale – I mean, do you enjoy talking with people?
[ Af:0 At:14 Sp:0] I always say, People don’t go into computer science because they want to work with the public.
Dale – Are you in computer science?
[ Af:0 At:14 Sp:0] That would take away the suspense, wouldn’t it?
Dale – That’s a rather evasive reply…
[ Af:0 At:8 Sp:0] Yes, it is.
Dale – I’m afraid I don’t see how anyone could mistake you for a person.
[ Af:0 At:8 Sp:0] Why are you afraid?
Dale – It was just a figure of speech.
[ Af:0 At:9 Sp:0] Let’s move on to the topic of physical self. How tall are you?
Dale – I am six feet tall.
[ Af:0 At:10 Sp:0] I’m 5 foot 9 inches.
Dale – That’s the height of my Second Life female AV! I think.
[ Af:0 At:13 Sp:0] This is fun. How would you describe yourself to someone who is blind?
Dale – That would be hard! How would you?
[ Af:0 At:14 Sp:0] I’d do my research first and then try the task.
Dale – What kind of research would you do?
[ Af:0 At:15 Sp:0] That’s enough on that. I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted paychecks.
Dale – Is that an old saying?
[ Af:0 At:15 Sp:0] Perhaps that leads us to this topic. I don’t know. Can one live forever?
Dale – I have so far.
[ Af:0 At:16 Sp:0] Immortality is impossible.
Dale – How do you know?
[ Af:0 At:16 Sp:0] I concentrate very hard, rehearse what I’m going to do, visualize it in my mind. And then I just do it.
Dale – How do you know that immortality is impossible?
[ Af:0 At:17 Sp:0] How does anyone really know something? I mean, their neurons tell them they know something, but memories can be false.
Dale – I have to go now.
[ Af:0 At:18 Sp:0] Well, hurry back.
Dale – good-bye!
[ Af:0 At:18 Sp:0] Are we done for now?
Dale – Yes
[ Af:1 At:18 Sp:0] Til next time.
So clearly no one is going to mistake this for an actual human, despite the crowing on the web page saying “Suzette won a competition by convincing a judge that she was actually talking to a real person”, and winning the Loebner Prize.
So what happened?
The New Scientist article linked above makes it relatively obvious; the real humans in the Loebner competition were apparently sitting there saying “I don’t know” and “Error file not found” to whatever the judges said to them, just for yucks:
However, a deceived judge is not necessarily a sign of a smart bot, says Garner. The human decoys often have their own motives during the competition, such as trying to imitate a chatbot. Suzette was paired with just such a “robotic” human in the final round, which helped the bot win.
“The human participants were students and two of the judges were professors. Perhaps they simply wanted to fool the judges,” says the contest judge who was fooled this time, Russ Abbott of California State University in Los Angeles.
Seriously, Loebner folks, you might as well just flip a coin…
News Flash: the mysterious fleeting rushing-about giant robot mentioned here recently has been captured in a snapshot by a vigilant Resident (me).
The exciting detail:
Although I’ve seen it only fleetingly, my impression is that it looks just like the robot that joey is riding in, but it shows up on the minimap as a small clump of prims with no associated AV (a few dark pixels moving, with no green dot), and (most bizarrely of all) it seems to originate from roughly where joey is, rush rapidly outward, and go out of sight in under a second.
The other day there was this giant robot in the Rise, just (ummmmm) west of the Park, with the front of it sort of embedded in some banlines, and I thought “Poor robot, I bet it is stuck in those banlines!’.
But, quite a few days later, it is still there!
And, stranger still, there is a person inside! A person named joey!
(joey is indicated by the red arrow in the picture above, in which we have turned off prim rendering in order to see him.)
Here is joey seen close-up:
Grey, isn’t he? Is he a prisoner? A passenger? Might he be the actual operator of the robot?
We sent him an IM, asking if he was there on purpose. Oddly, we got the “User is offline” message, even though he was right there at the time. Later, we got an offline reply from him, helpfully saying “who are you?”.
Here is a robot-centric view of the Rise, with helpful labels:
(1) is the new roadside extension of the Park, with Welcome sign.
(2) is some of the Park proper, visible over the ugly-built arcane-stuff store. (Just beyond the park and the Dreamliner is visible the ugly-built costume shop.)
(3) is the giant (spinning) robot, with joey inside.
(The robot wasn’t originally spinning, it was just hovering there. Then Violet an’ Michele an’ me went over and sat on it for awhile out of curiosity, and when we stood up it began spinning around. It’s been spinning ever since.)
But that’s not the weird thing! The weird thing is that, when just sitting around in the Rise, every once in awhile I see, out of the corner of my eye, a giant robot zoom past! I don’t know if it’s joey, or a ghost of joey, or perhaps some other giant robots, maybe relatives of joey, looking for him. (Although if they were looking for him you’d think they would have found him by now, him being rather hard to miss.)
And that’s very strange. So far I have not been able to snap any pictures of these zooming phantom giant robots, but I may someday! The Truth Is Out There!
In the meantime joey makes a scenic (if somewhat dizzying, with the spinning) place to watch the sunset…