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Project River Updates

I’m moving to this thread, since I believe at this point updates to my project no longer fall under the topic of “New to Chatbot Programming”.

More complete updates can be found on my blog, as I don’t want to spam the board.

Brief Description of Project River:

Project River is my own pet project of creating a Smart House. I’m starting small though, and focusing on writing a Natural Language companion in C++.

While the end goal is to emulate something along the lines of “S.A.R.A.H.” from Eureka or Jane from Ender’s Game, I’m going to take it in baby steps.

What River Can Already Do:
1) Connect to a SQL database
2) Talk to the User using Microsoft Speech API 5.4
3) Listen to the User using Microsoft Speech API 5.4
4) Follow basic commands to control Pandora Radio and Google Chrome.


  [ # 1 ]

Project River Status Update (1/10/2011):
Success! After many hours of work, I have succeeded in integrating the Rebecca AIML chatbot engine into Project River. I can now carry on conversations with River, which already makes her feel significantly more useful and complete.

Because the speech recognition is so buggy (I need to develop a good system to training it), some funny conversations have already taken place. She constantly mishears what I say, so most of our conversations jump from topic to topic even more than the typical conversation with a chatbot would.

The most interesting conversation I have had so far (entirely on accident) went as follows:

Me: Who is the President of the United States?
River: Barack Obama
Me: Is he a good president? (she heard: Is he a woman?)
River: No.

This was an eerie situation because it made it seem as if River had her own opinions about the state of the nation without me having taught her any.

I’m using the voice Bridget from NeoSpeech to give River her voice. As a result, she sounds incredibly life like—the British accent helps her sound more natural. I’ve noticed that even when my conversations with River are completely ridiculous, it is still believable that she is intelligent, because she speaks so naturally. From this I conclude that using a believable voice interface greatly increases the believability of any artificial intelligence system. I also believe that the absence of any animation or physical form also helps increase believability—there’s no “uncanny valley” affect taking place, nor is there any poorly animated avatar to detract from the immersion.

Next Steps

The next major task I will focus on will be to improve the speech recognition by programming in a training method. If River doesn’t hear me properly, I will tell her “That’s not what I said.”, which will then prompt her to ask me to type exactly what I said—she will save both items, and use them to train herself to hear better in the background.

My next small task I’ll focus on will be to implement a web crawler class. This will let me start to implement functionality such as looking up the release date of a movie or what television shows are airing on a given day.


  [ # 2 ]
Garrett Griffin - Jan 11, 2011:

I’m moving to this thread, since I believe at this point updates to my project no longer fall under the topic of “New to Chatbot Programming”.

Hey Garrett, no worries about this. Actually, this is a typically ‘My Chatbot Project’ thread, so I moved it again.

Please keep us updated through this thread. You can also add your RSS and Twitter feeds to your profile, although that will be less be seen (with our current design, but that will change).

Is your chatbot already visible out there? I’d love to see it! Don’t forget to add your chatbot to our directory as soon as it is available!

Furthermore, your blog page starts with:
function experienceLife() { while($alive) { earnMeans(); planExperiences(); enjoyLife();
blogAboutIt(); } }

Is that intentional or just buggie? :-s



  [ # 3 ]

Try reading the content of the function Erwin, You’ll get it!


  [ # 4 ]

hahahah, that was a little bit to fast indeed. Tx Jan grin


  [ # 5 ]

Just goes to show how important the ‘visual structure’ of a sentence is, to select the type of ‘reading’ used.grin


  [ # 6 ]

+ the fun in ambiguaty (still missing an edit button ?)


  [ # 7 ]

the edit button is back for postings younger than 15 mins. Correct?


  [ # 8 ]

I post but I don’t see an edit but, no.


  [ # 9 ]

Hehe, thanks for moving the thread for me. I wasn’t sure if this or the other was a better place for it. I chose the other just because there were hardly any threads here, and CLUES was posted in the other one. No complaints though! I just want my posts in the right place and now they are grin.

I’m glad Jan got the programming tidbit from my blog! Let’s me know that it’s not too confusing to still be clever.

I must say, the more I’m around this community, the more I love it. I realized yesterday that Dr. Watson posts here, which is beyond cool. Especially because my recent implementation of Rebecca AIML mentioned him randomly yesterday.


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