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“A wise robot once said to me through Serial.println- that robots teach us about ourselves.”

Timely Factbot – Python IRC Chatbot

IMG_9325 - Version 2

The telling of facts while in a group setting is quite interesting. In an ideal scenario, there would be an equal amount of fact sharing by each member in the group. Usually this is not the case, as one person can know more about one subject and be very good at rattling off facts. Conversing with people like that can be difficult, as that person’s role becomes more of the fact-rambler, eventually becoming distant from the group itself. What if we could leave the fact-rambling to a robot, and let the humans do what they do best?

This might sound contradictory to everything that we have learnt so far. Are we not supposed to be fact machines, after all that we are “taught” in school to memorize equations and whatnot? That’s what books are for, you really don’t need to know any of those things, just how to apply them. Robots are good at “knowing” things, but maybe not so much applying them.

Picture this setting in an IRC chat-room (Fat Man and Circuit Girl):

electricguy:
it’s impossible to stand like a foot from a helicopter rotor without getting sucked in!!:P

slinky:
the angle of the chopper was the first dead giveaway.

electricguy:
hmmm, wonder if mythbusters wanna try that too!:P

ithon_no_audio:
wondering if you shine a mini projector on cloth then have a camera on the same side of the projector see through the cloth but with a polorized filter rotated to cancel out the polarised light from the projector?

ithon_no_audio:
that way a robot can look at you with human like eyes while really look at you

RobotGrrl:
so you have a projector and a camera and a cloth… how do you get the pupils?

electricguy:
elly dees!

RobotGrrl:
why do you need to cut polarization?

electricguy:
hmmm, do you think it’s a good idea to overclock a computer that already have approx 50 degrees C in CPU temp?

ithon_no_audio:
so the camera don’t see the projector and rather the light behind the cloth

bhtooefr:
is that 50 at idle or full load?

electricguy:
like half load:P

Conversations like this happen regularly throughout the times that I’m actually “in” there. There’s a few topics going on at once, crazy helicopters, polarization of projectors, and CPU load. What would really be nice is if somehow ithon and I magically learned something about polarization, while we were discussing it. A timely factbot would be great!

Basically since September 1 I’ve been playing around with Python libraries for IRC chatbot connections and playing around with the natural language toolkit. A few months ago, when everything was peachy, I was thinking about projects that would be cool to fit in with an AI and HCI class. I made a conversation robot software a few years ago, but haven’t given it much time after the science fair was over. Seems like a pretty good opportunity to work on something similar using the ideas that were used in that old software!

The plan of attack so far is to first be able to tokenize the messages that are sent. From there, design a Markov approach to construct a “memory” of what is being discussed. Some magical AI will happen, then some text will be fetched from Wikipedia and sent into the chatroom.

I’m super excited for designing the Markov approach. I don’t even know anything about that very much!

The best part about this factbot in my opinion is that it will be interacted with indirectly. No crazy commands will need to be used. It will be listening and waiting for a good time to start to ramble off some facts. It probably would be beneficial to add support for messages that are sent that tell the factbot to elaborate more. I’ll keep blogging about this as I go. It’s sort of going to be like a side-hobby, I might not be able to dedicate as much time to it as I would have thought, but it will be fun anyway :D

Forgot to mention that I’ll probably be playing around with this factbot in #robot at comm.cslabs. Once it’s working reliably, I’ll have more faith in bringing it out into the “real world”. :D

3 CommentsLeave a Comment


  • dont miss this blog!

  • Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch since I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

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