In conversation with …


… your computer?  And then some more?

As long as there have been computers, there have been people talking about artificial intelligence and getting your computer to think and talk to you.

And, of course, it’s been great fodder for movies.

Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop Dave? Stop, Dave.

If you don’t recognize the above, you’re probably not going to appreciate the rest of this post.

Recently, we were in the market for a new car.  There once was a time when we would spend days going from dealership to dealership in search of the perfect replacement.  Now, it’s easily done from our keyboard.

And, with some dealerships, with a conversational twist!

I was on a Ford website when up popped a conversation window.  Uh oh.  I’m not alone.

I decided to play along.  If it’s a human, I can always plead insanity.  With a computer generated discussion, I can see where it goes.

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I knew that they didn’t have a used Camaro in stock.  I thought that they might immediately steer me towards buying a Mustang.

Instead, I started to think of a conversations I’ve had with computers in the past.  Of course, Clippy in Microsoft Word came to mind.

But, I went back further in time to my old TRS-80.  Running on it, I had one of the originals – Eliza.  Was it intelligence?  By today’s definition, probably not.  But, I do remember my students having a whale of a time playing and interacting with it.

It was wonderfully developed code.

It’s not uncommon to find the “classics” resurrected on the web just to honour the great things from the past and to give us an appreciation for what we have today.  Sure enough, I have found a few web implementations.  Here’s one.

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And, you can have the sort of discussion today that my students used to enjoy.

But, it gets even better when you think about how you might use this in the classroom.  There’s the immediate conversation piece and a discussion about computers thinking and interacting.

But, in the Computer Science classroom where it’s always a good activity to read someone else’s code, use your browser to “View the source” of the page.  Inside, you’ll find just a goldmine of Javascript that makes it all happen.

You know what comes next … highlight, copy, paste, and then remix.

Have fun!

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OTR Links 08/28/2017


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.