Smarter than me?
For those of you who have not heard of Smarterchild yet, it is a Chatbot; a constructed* intelligence that communicates over IM. At the ripe old age of nine, instant messaging is one of the youngest communication technologies of the information age, as well as the one with the most potential to push the boundaries of constructed intelligence and personality.
Now to be honest, the latter is something I see becoming more important than the former as I look ahead ten or twenty years. As the quality of computer-generated services becomes more evenly robust, we will turn towards those services with better presentation, or in the case of verbal user interfaces, those services with a more distinctive and warm personality. When I was reading The Substance of Style, I found a number of precedents for such a transition of emphasis from quality of performance to quality of experience. Additionally, the deconstruction and encoding of something as intangible as personality is something that I will be very interested to see attempted. People already have problems anthropomorphizing their computers. I can’t wait to see what happens when their Linux boxes speak to them with Indian accents and Brahmin wisdom.
*There is a reason why I use the term constructed instead of artificial. The word artificial to me has a connation of worthlessness that makes me cringe when taken in the context of computation.