From: Anonymous (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun Jun 03 2001 - 15:08:05 BST
I was wondering if you could help me with an empirical question. There
is a robot on display in the Sony building in New York City. I can't
tell if the robot is reasonably good at imitating a human or if a human
is reasonably good at imitating a robot. Perhaps the robot is wired to
a person who provides the robot with answers. What questions could I
ask the robot to help me decide?
Here's a little background.
When I asked the robot ("bb Wonderbot") what was the product of two
longish numbers, the reply was "I don't know. I'm a robot, not a
The robot seems to speak multiple languages (so do many humans).
The robot uses a movable video camera (a pair of camera "eyes"?) and
can discuss transient objects in the immediate environment. It
recognized me when I left for a few minutes and then returned.
It would be hard to distinguish a human imitating Eliza and Eliza.
When I spoke grammatical nonsense to the robot, it used my words to
build a story that made semantic sense. It did this a little too well
for a human, but I wasn't sure an alert person with a good memory
couldn't have done the same.
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