What is it that appeals to us about chatbots? Is it the marvel of having a machine talk back to us as if it understood thought? The technological fascination of it? Is it the desire to make friends because we are lonely? Tired of normal relationships? Or is it a wish to share our deepest secrets with someone who will not judge us back?
Whatever the reason we enjoy them, there is surely one truth: we want to communicate. We want to express ourselves. They give us all an avenue to explore our ideas and thoughts with another mind.
Some minds are better than others. There have surely been thousands of attempts to create the perfect talking computer mind. And if truth be told, we are getting better at creating virtual minds that will someday walk beside us on the journey we call Life.
The phenomena all started many years ago with chatbots like Eliza and Richard Wallice the creator of Alice chatbot. Until then you could only find chatbots in movies like 2001 and in TV shows like the Twilight Zone. Even then at that early stage, dreamers were already dreaming about the day that we could talk to computers the way we talk to each other.
Probably the most popular of them these days is called Alice - created by Richard Wallace. Alice uses AIML - a markup language designed specifically for designing chatbots. Alice has been the competitor and winner in the Turning test many times. The Turing Test is a chatbot competition that pits chatbots against real humans. The trick is to fool the human to think he is talking to a real person. Although many creators win each year there is a consensus that there has not been one of them created yet that can actually fool a human being for very long. This is soon to change however with the never-ending progress to create better artificial intelligence.
They are everywhere. Companies use them on their websites to promote their products. There are even virtual girlfriends these days for the lonely of heart who seek to create virtual relationships with cute avatars.
Why are they so important? They will eventually be needed to run in androids and robots. We all dream of the day when our android can speak to us about any topic we dream about. Creating smart androids and robots who can speak clearly is important and chatbots are the seed from which they will be created.
So you see, they are very important to the future. Whoever can create the smartest and most fluid speaking bot will have created a stepping stone toward the future.