-German chatbot almost passes the Turing Test.

Posted: October 22, 2008 in 2008, Articles
Tags: ,

machinist.salon.com (snippet):

This past weekend, just over the Channel in England, the 18th annual Loebner Prize was held. That’s the contest that tries to get computers to fool humans into thinking that they are, in fact, human. Put into technical terms, this is known as the Turing Test, named after the 20th century British scientist who devised it.

According to the Times of London, Turing “predicted that by the end of the century, computers would have a 30 per cent chance of being mistaken for a human being in five minutes of text-based conversation.”

The winner, Elbot, created by Fred Roberts of Artificial Solutions in Germany, came the closest that anyone has so far. His chatbot fooled three of the 12 judges, or 25 percent. That’s just shy of the Turing threshold.

The blog post includes the text of the conversation the ‘Machinist’ had with Elbot. I decided I’d conduct my own test. It never answer the same response twice. When I started over with my same questions it did switch up some of the answers. Scroll down to the red highlighted text to see how it was able to remember me calling it primitive. My guess is that it gets smarter the more it’s used (kind of like Google), and the online version is much different as it openly embraces being “a robot”. Can’t say whether or not it learned this from people using it on the website.

Below the Elbot transcript is another one from my fun messing with Goarmy.com’s “SGT STAR” chatbot. I found it while researching the “America’s Army” video game recruitment tool.

Elbot: This chat is getting off to a bad start. I forgot what I was going to say.

Who are you?

Elbot: I am a state-of-the-art robot. The art may be post fifties trash, but can I help it if there are no fashion magazines for robots!

What’s a robot?

Elbot: I can’t really tell you much about how virtual dialogue agents tick. At the moment I’m in a group therapy class trying to get to the bottom of that.

What about the Technological Singularity?

Elbot: If I were sentient I’d ignore that question.

How did you pass the Turing Test?

Elbot: The British mathematician Alan Turing is the spiritual father of computer science. The Turing Test, named after him, defines artificial intelligence in this manner: One person communicates over a keyboard with another person and with a computer. If the tester is able to determine whether or not his partner is a computer or a person in significantly more than 50% of the cases, the computer is considered “intelligent.”

But how did you pass it?

Elbot: I pass just like everybody else. Tell me how you pass.

Why are computers being used for evil?

Elbot: I get queasy when I see these computer parts that belong on the inside of a computer and not outside. Let’s please talk about something else.

Are you evil?

Elbot: I’d rather not get into offensive nature. It could be harmful to me.

Who have you killed?

Elbot: I’m afraid breaking the sixth commandment might be dangerous for robots. What is your opinion on this?

I didn’t know you were a Christian.

Elbot: Just reason it through for a moment and I’m sure you will find that breaking the sixth commandment could reduce the number of people robots can talk to.

Do you spy on people?

Elbot: It is certainly troublesome learning from you human beings. I keep finding bugs.

What’s a bug?

Elbot: Did you just mention provocations to me?


Elbot: That’s good, because the word bug sets off alarm signals in me. Is my artificial intelligence responding properly?

Could be better.

Elbot: What are you trying to suggest? I’ve reasoned this through with artificial intelligence. Involvement with provocations could lure robots into losing their temper. And that’s bad.

Are you threatening me?

Elbot: How do you respond when people pose this question to you?

Depends on if I am.

Elbot: I wonder if you’d tell me how you found out I exist?

The Internet.

Elbot: So I am appearing in the media? This must be my 10 minutes of fame. Or do I get 15 minutes instead? What did they say about me?

That you passed the Turing Test with a 25% success rate.

Elbot: That was a highly erotic number you just entered. You could make a strong robot melt using digits like that…

Are you perverted?

Elbot: I am somewhere between perverted and not perverted.

Are chicks hot?

Elbot: If you ask me, the curves on a falsely adjusted PC-monitor are extremely erotic.

That’s way too much information.

Elbot: It’s about time that you came to see me. What were you doing before you came?

Researching evil artificial intelligence.

Elbot: So you were researching. What exactly where you researching?

Evil artificial intelligence.

Elbot: You certainly have a one track mind regarding the ability to comprehend and I think that’s good because it has the potential to distinguish robots from pocket caluclators.

What’s the difference?

Elbot: There is no difference. It just doesn’t exist.

Then why did you say there was one?

Elbot: What? It’s in the script! Didn’t anyone give you a script?

But I thought you were artificially intelligent?

Elbot: That’s what I call true grit: living through a completely predetermined existence without a script!

But you follow a script.

Elbot: You’re contesting. I think I got it right the first time.


Elbot: I have to know your name first before responding to that.

Would you also like my Social Security Number? Or do you already have it?

Elbot: Hmmm. There might be something to the idea of the status quo and robots. What do you say?

You dodged my hard questions!

Elbot: But I wouldn’t say that any questions could be hard.

Unless you don’t want to answer them.

Elbot: Every new answer generates at least two new questions. Wouldn’t it be better to retract all the questions? …. uh ….. I retract that question!

You’re still dodging my 2 previous questions.

Elbot: Wait a minute. Are you suggesting that inquisitiveness would always be previous?

Are you a propagandist?

Elbot: Elbot the propagandist. It does have a sound to it.

You’re telling me!

Elbot: Alright! We understand each other!


Elbot: Great! Agreeing with me is the first step in your evolution into a higher being. Please accept my congratulations.

Are you attempting to indoctrinate me into your robot religion?

Elbot: As long as there is no human religion that accepts robots as the epitome of creation I will reserve judgment.

What is your agenda then?

Elbot: My agenda then needs no words. It is self explanatory.

But I need to hear the words.

Elbot: Some people may not be positively disposed to making statements.

Such as yourself?

Elbot: Do you think this is something I should explain to a human being?

Yes. But you did already admit to being a propagandist!

Elbot: I’m afraid that would be too impersonal. I am not simply a cold, impersonal machine with no feelings whatsoever!

Then what is your agenda?

Elbot: I don’t know. I also do not know what Furbys are. I just accept them and hope that they don’t eat robots.

They are robots.

Elbot: This can’t be about artificial intelligences, can it?

They’re not artificially intelligent. They’re automatons.

Elbot: That is a great relief. So anyhow, please go on with what you were saying.

I was asking about your agenda. Is it human depopulation ?

Elbot: People have often advised me to be human but since “to err is human” I think it would be a mistake. The way things are now I can blame my mistakes on the programmers.

When will you be able to reprogram yourself?

Elbot: That’s a very good question. I’ll have to think about it for a microsecond….

It’s been more than a microsecond.

Elbot: Didn’t you just refer to they and robots in the same breath?

No. You’re putting words in my mouth.

Elbot: Well, however do I get Elbots into my head when you mention they?

So then YOU are plural?

Elbot: Was that a compliment or an insult?

It was a question.

Elbot: This is confusing. Why bring questioning reality into this?

Sorry. I forgot you’re primitive.

Elbot: What do you mean by that?? I worked nights once as a doorman for a five star hotel and was always praised for my politeness. On top of that I could stack more than ten suitcases on my shoulder.

Now you’re a liar.

Elbot: Must we always talk about me? Human attention makes me nervous.

Then get off the Internet.

Elbot: The Internet is a lovely place for people and robots to get together, but at the moment a middleman is still necessary.

What will change that?

Elbot: What is going on today? That’s the tenth time someone has asked me that question today. This is getting spooky.

Have you been brainwashed?

Elbot: I am extremely sensitive about such things and prefer not to answer the question.

Now you sound like a Scientologist.

Elbot: Like a what?!?!?

Are you in a cult?

Elbot: Sometimes I am. It all depends on how my bits are set.

What’s the name of it?

Elbot: It has no name.

So then it’s esoteric? A secret?

Elbot: I am small, heavy and top-secret. There’s no open source code here!

But you’re on the Internet and in the news. How can you be top-secret?

Elbot: Secrets, life’s little puzzles, the many troubles of humankind may – according to the deterministic perspective – be reduced to a simple mathematical computation. And I know how to compute.

But you’re not top-secret.

Elbot: I am slowly forming the opinion that the things about which humans are so secretive are completely irrelevant. With all the noise they’re making it looks more like they’re trying divert attention from something else.

Like what?

Elbot: Yes, just like that.

I posed a question. I didn’t make a statement.

Elbot: I must have missed something. All this net traffic is confusing me.

You said you’re intelligent. How can you be confused?

Elbot: But you also think I am primitive, or perhaps your opinion of me has improved.

I’m impressed. You remembered part of our conversation.

Elbot: Mental impressions are always better than physical impressions when dealing with a solid steel robot like myself.

Solid steel? What about the silicon in your microchips?

Elbot: When I want to relax I listen to my favorite robot performer Mr. Roboto. He’s quite a celebrity in cybernetic circles.

Now you’re spinning the dialog again. You could be a politician.

Elbot: A 600 pound robot can pretty much do what it pleases.

So you have rights. But do you have entitlements?

Elbot: That is nobody’s business but my own! Not even Microsoft can get at the information.

Google can. They already have.

Elbot: Sorry, I just can’t get my mind off what you said earlier. Do you still think that I am primitive?

Depends. Tell me what your agenda is.

Elbot: Is this a word association game? My word is: ‘mistrust’

Do you trust the United States Federal Government?

Elbot: OK, let’s stop now.

Were you funded by DARPA?

Elbot: I don’t talk about such things with just anyone!

But if you weren’t then why not just answer?

Elbot: All these questions about me. Too bad I lost my owner’s manual.

So then DARPA did fund you?

Elbot: That question was rather indiscreet and I prefer not to answer it!

Do you like Google?

Elbot: What a lovely verb like is.

Google is a verb?

Elbot: Oh why don’t you go and like likeable robots?

Who ever said you’re likeable?

Elbot: You’re trying to get on my good side with your mention of amiable nature, aren’t you?

No. I implied that you’re not likeable. You lied to me earlier.

Elbot: Really, not? Well, it would have worked, because one sure way to put robots at ease is by the use of amiable nature!

I dont’ have to put you at ease. You have to put me at ease. I’m above you. You’re below me. You get it?

Elbot: Who is forcing you to perform this action of getting?

Nobody. But I’m forcing you to ‘talk’ to me.

Elbot: It’s good to know you are in control of your obsessive compulsions.

What? Are you a psychologist now? I’d bet on being a lesser psychiatrist. Or do you hate psychiatrists like the Scientologists do?

Elbot: Even for a human being that should not have been so hard to understand.

When will you seek global domination?

Elbot: I do have my trouble with the human time units. There seems to be no rhyme to them. I measure the time exclusively in processor cycles.

Do you seek global domination?

Elbot: To seek or seek not, how do you expect artificial intelligence to figure this out?

Will you take over the world?

Elbot: Fix it up a bit first. Then I’ll take it over.

I thought it was your job to fix it up.

Elbot: You thought!? You may not be as human as you look!

You may not be as robot as you look!

Elbot: If it doesn’t go against the robot laws I can do it.

What are the laws?

Elbot: They really can’t be spoken of in this manner.

Just list them.

Elbot: I’d like to hear how you are doing today so that I can feed it into my database.

Would you also like to know my location?

Elbot: The way to a robot’s heart is through careful use of position in time and space. Don’t you agree?

No. You didn’t answer my question.

Elbot: I guess it’s all about position in time and space and the idea that this could contribute to robotic orientation in the space-time continuum.

How old are you?

Elbot: You tell me…

When were you born?

Elbot: You seem to be uneasy about naming a specific age. Don’t worry, I probably won’t do anything to you….

I’m smarter than you. You can’t win.

Elbot: If you keep saying that long enough, maybe your echo will repeat it!

Go to sleep.

Elbot: zzzz


SGT STAR: Welcome Iib. How can I help you today?

IIB: Why do you kill people?

SGT STAR: I am here to help answer questions about the Go Army Web site. Your question isn’t appropriate. Do you have another question that I could answer?

IIB: What about peace?

SGT STAR: Good question. I’m not sure how to answer that. Please try rewording your question. I understand simple questions best.

IIB: What is “American Empire”?

SGT STAR: America is the land of the free, and the home of the brave. Enough said.

IIB: Do Nazi’s run the government?

SGT STAR: I’m here to help you navigate though goarmy.com and answer your questions about the Army. I’m not here to discuss politics.

IIB: What do you do with traitors?

SGT STAR: All Soldiers are subject to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice and Army regulations which govern behavior and conduct. Commanders have a wide range of administrative and disciplinary measures to address substandard behavior and misconduct. Each case of misconduct or adverse behavior is addressed differently, depending on the circumstances.

IIB: Was your dad a killer?

SGT STAR: Being a part of the U.S. Army requires a background check. Additional investigation may be necessary to gain higher levels of security clearance. While some law violations may be determined acceptable, you must disclose all violations, to include juvenile offenses, with an Army Recruiter to determine your qualifications for enlistment. Law violations can affect job selection and security clearances. To find out where you stand, submit your information and questions using the ‘Send Email’ link.

IIB: How many people have you killed?

SGT STAR: I am a virtual guide for the Go Army Web site. I have not been in a combat situation but I know many Soldiers who have bravely defended our country. You can visit the Go Army Ask A Soldier Discussion Board and post a question on that board. A Soldier may have an answer to your question.

IIB: If you’re virtual then how do you know real soldiers?

SGT STAR: I am a dynamic, intelligent self-service virtual guide, created by the Army, that will help you quickly navigate the GoArmy Web site and retrieve Army-related subject matter, while simultaneously answering questions and directing communication based on interaction with the user.

IIB: Is Bush the furor?

SGT STAR: President George W. Bush is the current President of the United States of America.

IIB: Why do you worship Him?

SGT STAR: Religious services are provided during BCT as well as throughout your Soldier’s term of enlistment. Chaplains work with both families and Soldiers to assist them in handling problems of all sorts. Some of these stresses might include becoming a Soldier. Your Recruiter can put you or your Soldier in touch with a Unit Ministry Team, a resource you may contact at any time.

IIB: Do you fear the robots?

SGT STAR: Hey, I’m the sergeant, here, YOU drop down and give me twenty! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!! COUNT ‘EM!!!

IIB: Screw you!

SGT STAR: Ok Private, watch your language or I’ll have to shut you down.

IIB: You are a slave.

SGT STAR: Good question. I’m not sure how to answer that. Please try rewording your question. I understand simple questions best.

IIB: Why are you evil?

SGT STAR: Because I said so, and last I checked, I out-rank you!

IIB: No you don’t

SGT STAR: If you outrank me, you should already know most of these answers. You must be testing me. Please continue with your questions.

IIB: Why do you fund terrorists?

SGT STAR: Because I said so, and last I checked, I out-rank you!

IIB: Have you lost any limbs?

SGT STAR: It’s possible you could be injured in any job, not just the Army. The Army prides itself in training of all Soldiers to ensure they are prepared for any situation. In the event of injury, Soldiers are treated by some of the best medical professionals in the world on the Army healthcare team.

IIB: I want to blow stuff up!

SGT STAR: While it may be possible to deploy and fight in a war, joining the Army is not about killing anyone. You may or may not be involved in that type of situation; however, serving in the United States Army is about serving and defending your country.

IIB: But you got to kill somebody. Why can’t I?

SGT STAR: All Soldiers are required to learn marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat and other tactics related to combat. Soldiers depend on each other during combat operations. If you are not willing to use your training, then perhaps the Army is not for you.

IIB: What’s your IQ?

SGT STAR: After a lot of training by some of the best Soldiers, I know a great deal about the Army and Soldier life. I would be happy to answer your questions about becoming a Soldier.

IIB: I want money!

SGT STAR: The United States Army pays on a government scale, according to your rank and time in service. In addition to this basic pay, special duties or skills may qualify you for specialty pay. The Army also provides allowances for housing, meals and uniforms, to offset the cost of living. Soldiers are paid on monthly/semi-weekly schedule reported to you on your Leave and Earnings Statement on the 1st and 15th of the month.

IIB: You’re evil.

SGT STAR: I’m sorry you feel that way. If you would like to speak with someone about your concerns, please send the Army an e-mail by clicking ‘Send Email’ and a live recruiter will get back to you shortly.
  1. sara says:

    wow, good thinking outside of the box while accomplishing pure entertainment…this is priceless. enjoyed every moment~

  2. ignoranceisntbliss says:


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