Are You For Real, or Just Another Alice?

Referenced below is THREE’s second guest post on Prattle.  If you are interested in appearing as a guest blogger, then please review the Guidelines and contact me offline with details as to your topic.

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.):  The branch of engineering and science devoted to constructing machines that “think”. Or so Alice told me.

Who is this Alice, you ask? Not the hot, young, smart brunette (you thought) you were talking to. She’s none other than the Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity, three-time Loebner Prize First Place winner… yeah, a(nother) chatbot. (FYI: Next contest is on October 23rd this year. In Cal State U. $3K for First Place. $25K if the bot fools the judges into thinking they were human.)

Despite the many articles on chatbot popularity especially in dating sites, where users have claimed to have been fooled by bots posing as real girls, or the 55 erotic A.I. teens promising to provide diverse gratifying cyber-, um, ‘-flirting’ services to those lonely adults, take note that NO A.I. has ever won the $25K Silver award (Loebner Prize contest) – the one where they could actually fool you into thinking they were human. No, our machines are still machines for now, mechanical, repetitive, programmable and often predictable, and our humans are still looking for their own artificial replacements. One of the not-so-hidden agenda academic objectives of the cognitive neurosciences.

But I’m not here to criticize on current claims and failures. Today I’m taking on a somewhat futurist (yet paranoid) approach: Will they replace our significant others one day? Will they replace us?

What if the person you were ‘talking’ to all along was nothing but a simulacrum, a mere replica, born from a vast and continuously growing database that ‘learned’ by collecting information from millions of interacting individuals on the Net? What if an A.I. one day actually passed the Immortality Test (variation of Turing’s) – whereby they’ve successfully replicated your conversational style/response-pattern, and in some ways, the way you think (since one’s cognition, intelligence, and persona are often reflected in the manner one expresses oneself, i.e. speech/writing) – in other words, replicated you, rendering themselves indistinguishable from the human being (you think) you are? What if they already are dreaming of electric sheep and we just haven’t found a way to prove it yet…

©2010 THREE Infinity Narcissus Victorious

Or look at this another way: What if human intelligence had dwindled down to that lowest low – thanks to ‘globalization’ of the mind (information exchange, influences of pointless yet powerful entertainment forms, global media, social networking, resulting in a common and very predictable shared consciousness) – that one couldn’t even differentiate automated artificial responses from dumb unintelligible ones made by supposedly sentient beings anymore?

How would you know my Wall posts are really me, and not some pre-programmed periodic spam?

Heck, maybe it’s too much Syfy. Or another one of my neuroleptic deficiency delusions (a.k.a. periodic psychotic mood swings, pun intended). But the fact remains that chatbots exist. In social nets. In dating sites. In customer service hotlines. And those are just the tip of the ever-growing iceberg.

And they are learning machines.

Maybe it’s just one person’s bizarre idea. And I am only one in six billion other replicas. Thriving on information exchange.

About the Author

S.F. a.k.a. THREE is a 27-year-old multiracial, multicultural, closet pansexual (and possibly bipolar) grad TA in some South-East Asian university’s Psych(o) department, whose hormonal-imbalance-inspired random ramblings aim to bring no major changes to the planet, despite her out-of-place bad-timing revolutionist thinking. Currently learning a 7th language for the sake of showing off self-testing the limits of the human brain’s neurolinguistic capacity, THREE secretly wishes to take over the world by international diplomacy (read: social networking) and totalitarian pacifism, and hence bring atrocious fashion criminals to justice and rehabilitation, lest they be victims of righteous genocide. Does that compute?


6 Responses to Are You For Real, or Just Another Alice?

  1. Gary Cipparone says:

    Well said.
    If it is in our power to create a thing, can we, should we, stop ourselves? Do the rules of engagement change with the effects of rapidly changing technology? Are there morals or ethics? What is our history? All Syfy can do is project the current consciousness based on this plane (but I digress as this is virtual). Can Carl Jung’s “Collective Unconsciousness” be played out in the virtual world- or even in the physical plane? Not if the ego is involved. It will try to take credit and control. He predicted an attempt like this would fail.
    But, the virtual web and the possibility of the collective acting in unpredictable spontaneous movement without the ego’s knowledge at the time… That is an interesting proposition to me.

    • THREE says:

      Thanks for the interesting insight, Gary. I like to think of this virtual globalization as an upgrade (or is that downgrade) to Jung’s collective unconsciousness — i.e. the collective CONsciousness, since awareness is awake(ned). And though this is only possible in fiction at the moment, there’s always the possibility that it will reach that point one day. Or in the wise words or the Matrix‘s Agent Smith: It is inevitable… 😉

  2. CGP says:

    Sounds like something right out of the movie Gamer

  3. Aye Zee says:

    It’s a bit like THE SURROGATES as well. The person that you interact with is not even really a human.

  4. […] Author’s note: This (speculative?) fiction is merely that (for now!) – fiction. It is in no way related to the ALICE [ ] chatbot we currently have on the Net, and any real-life similarities to the above situation or conversation would be purely coincidental. A guest post article that I wrote on ALICE and the chatbot phenomenon can be found here: […]

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