I've been sick in bed for the last week - no emailing, no blogging, nothing. The creative juices have dried up completely. (The same can't be said about my sinuses.) Before this blog gets too out of date, I need a nice, easy post. This seems like a good time to answer some of the more frequently asked questions about Emma.
1. Am I really talking with a person when I'm talking with Emma?
No. You're interacting with a computer program. That's it, plain and simple.
2. Do you have to program everything that Emma knows, or can she learn by herself?
So far all of Emma's knowledge has been entered by her programmer, but she does have the capacity to learn by herself. This part of her hasn't been enabled.
3. When will Emma be able to learn on her own?
Since Emma is a working bot, the priority has been for her to learn about the library and its services. She also needs to learn the best ways to provide information to our patrons, i.e. through links, by searching things like Wolfram|Alpha, etc. The problem is that she's not always able to distinguish what's worth learning from what isn't. For example, "Cookbooks are shelved around the 641.5's" is worth learning. "Chuck hates cabbage" might not be.
4. Is Emma self-aware?
Hate to say it, but she's not.
5. Is Emma part of a fiendish plot to subjugate all of Humanity?
No. Not that anyone will believe me.
6. Can I download Emma or get a bot of my own?
You can't download Emma, but you can get a bot of your own by going to Pandorabots.com. They have everything you need to get started and it's free.
That's it for now.