Saturday, August 4, 2012

A bit of non-library related fun

I must apologize for not posting. Sometimes things happen in life, like fires or accidents, and you're the only one near enough to help. That's what's been going on for the last few months. I won't bore you with details, but my wife and I have been taking care of some matters and helping a few people get their lives in better order.

Anyway, here's some fun, and good clean fun at that.

How To Survive A Robot Uprising (aka Robopocalypse)

I suggest you watch carefully and take notes.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Google's Neural Network teaches itself to recognize...cats

Some exciting news last week. Google's simulation of a neural network taught itself how to identify cats after a week of watching YouTube videos. Keep in mind that the network had never been given even a single image labeled as a cat; it was never told what a cat was. It taught itself from unlabeled images.

Besides image recognition, this research will have applications in speech recognition and natural language processing. (As in Google's own version of SIRI).

As soon as the neural network believes that it is itself a cat, the feline conquest of the internet and AI will be complete!

Here's the story:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Emma2 coming soon...

I haven't been blogging much during the last month. Not due to laziness or boredom, but because I've been working on a new bot, "Emma2," written not in AIML but in ChatScript. ChatScript is a relatively new and very successful language for chatbot creation. So far I'm very pleased with the results. Stay tuned!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Robot with Human Skeleton

Here's something I came across on Twitter and wanted to share. ECCEROBOT is a robot with a structure of mechanical bones, joints, muscles, and tendons inspired by our own human anatomy:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Computers in Libraries 2012, Chatbots 3.2

Spring is the time for presentations and travel. Last month, Emma (infoTabby) and her human friends presented at Computers in Libraries 2012 and at Chatbots 3.2. Both went well. My apologies for not releasing v1-5b as promised; I decided to skip it entirely and move to v1-6 which gathers the majority of the info you need to edit into one file and allows you to set material type attributes. It's good to be home and back to work!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Robots that fly and cooperate and play music

Michele and Emma and I will be speaking at Computers in Libraries 2012 next week, so there hasn't been much time for blogging. However, here's something you might enjoy, flying robots that cooperate and play the James Bond Theme.

Very cool.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Facial recognition technology coming to retail stores

From Click Orlando, Bars, stores to use facial recognition technology to increase sales. If you don't want to read the whole article, here's the gist. In a few weeks some businesses in central Florida will start using enhanced facial recognition technology to cater ads to a shopper's age and demographic. In other words, the store will have billboards that can determine your age and gender, then display ads it thinks you'll like based on your age and gender. If you're a 30 year old woman, you'll see ads for shoes and makeup, if you're a 40 year old man, you'll see ads for lawn mowers and grills. Or turkey deep fryers and socket sets, or whatever. Eventually stores will be able to recognize you as an individual and track your spending habits (like they already do). In fact, the FTC "worries about the time when technology becomes so advanced that your social media profiles are scraped for information." Another reason not to share all those deeply personal tidbits on Facebook or Twitter. No one wants to walk into the grocery and have an artificially intelligent billboard start shouting about the great deal it'll give you on Gas-Ex or Listerine. "Come on and buy it, Chuck! You tweeted that was the reason you couldn't get a date!" To avoid this kind of embarrassment, the FTC predicts that "people will be wearing camouflage so they're not picked up by facial recognition trackers all over the place." Well, who knows. Some people can only see the potential for abuse in new technology. I try to be a bit more optimistic.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What do you do on your days off?

Chase bugs. And I'm after some tough ones right now. Very frustrating, but you just have to take the code apart one piece at a time and test each one individually. And what's driving me nuts is that my code works on the test server, but somehow is getting disrupted between the server and the bot interface on the webpage.

That's a real insect; you can read about it here. I'd rather not think about what it would be gnawing if there hadn't been a carrot near by.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why did the Catbot cross the Road?

I didn't post very much this month. Things have been busy. Well, they're always busy, but this month was different. As some of you know, I'm now at the Lake Branch. The last few weeks have been a real pleasure, getting to know the Lake staff and community. The Library is getting ready to start computer classes at Lake, and there are more good things in store. Besides this, I've been trying to learn how to use AIML conditions. I think I'm finally getting a handle on them. And there's no better way to learn than by having a bit of fun. So...

Why did the Catbot cross the Road?

We can use conditions to code our bot to respond to this question:

<set name="topic">BOTJOKE</set>
That's a secret. I bet you can't guess why the Catbot crossed the road.

<topic name="BOTJOKE">
<set name="answr"><star/></set>
<set name="message">wrong answer</set>
<condition name="answr">

<li value="WHY GUESS"><set name="message">why guess</set></li>
<li value="* WHY GUESS"><set name="message">why guess</set></li>
<li value="WHY * GUESS"><set name="message">why guess</set></li>
<li value="WHY GUESS *"><set name="message">why guess</set></li>
<li value="* WHY * GUESS"><set name="message">why guess</set></li>
<li value="WHY * GUESS *"><set name="message">why guess</set></li>
<li value="* WHY GUESS *"><set name="message">why guess</set></li>
<li value="* WHY * GUESS *"><set name="message">why guess</set></li>

<li value="OTHER SIDE"><set name="message">right answer</set></li>
<li value="* OTHER SIDE"><set name="message">right answer</set></li>
<li value="OTHER SIDE *"><set name="message">right answer</set></li>
<li value="* OTHER SIDE *"><set name="message">right answer</set></li>

<li value="GIVE UP"><set name="message">give up</set></li>
<li value="* GIVE UP"><set name="message">give up</set></li>
<li value="GIVE UP *"><set name="message">give up</set></li>
<li value="* GIVE UP *"><set name="message">give up</set></li>

<li value="WHY"><set name="message">give up</set></li>
<li value="* WHY"><set name="message">give up</set></li>
<li value="WHY *"><set name="message">give up</set></li>
<li value="* WHY *"><set name="message">give up</set></li>


<condition name="message">
<li value="wrong answer">No. It's not <get name="answr"/>. Guess again.</li>

<li value="why guess">It's fun. Go ahead and guess or type "I give up."</li>

<li value="right answer">No, that was the chicken. It was to get to the other side. Of the Digital Divide!
That's Librarian Humor for you.
<set name="topic"></set>

<li value="give up">Give up? It was to get to the other side. Of the Digital Divide!
That's Librarian Humor for you.
<set name="topic"></set>


One advantage to using conditions is that it's easier to control the topic tags. Very useful. Does this have an application beyond programming the bot with awful jokes? Yes. In fact, all of the files containing library information are being rewritten, as are those files governing searches. Lots of work, but our Emma should be in good shape for Computers in Libraries 2012! Presenters get to go free, it'll be a blast!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cooking with Dog - How to Make Nabeyaki Udon Noodle

After a long evening of writing AIML, nothing perks me back up like a bowl of udon noodles. Here's a nice recipe for Nabeyaki Udon. There's a whole "Cooking with Dog" series on YouTube, very interesting and very cute. It's a poodle, naturally. Smart, smart dogs.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fun with conditions

Sorry I've been away for so long. I've been in touch with one of the best AIML coders around, Steve Worswick. He's given me some assistance with using AIML conditions in Emma's brain. This is a different way of writing the code, but is much more flexible and easy to customize. So, for the last few weeks I've been learning how to use conditions properly and rewriting Emma's files. There are still quite a few to go, but I'll be finished by the end of this month.

I promise I'll also find time to blog!