Now, you have learned enough to build your own application. You could, for example, take part in the Loebner Contest to win $100,000. The Loebner Prize is the first formal instantiation of a Turing Test. Hugh Loebner agreed with The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies to underwrite a contest designed to implement the Turing Test. Dr. Loebner pledged a Grand Prize of $100,000 for the first computer whose responses were indistinguishable from a human's. Each year an annual prize of $2000 and a bronze medal is awarded to the most human computer. The winner of the annual contest is the best entry relative to other entries that year, irrespective of how good it is in an absolute sense. Here is an example of a conversation with the winning program of 1997:
(c)1997 Cambridge Center For Behavioral Studies all rights reserved [CONVERSE] [Intelligent Research Ltd.] Start at: [1997/04/29 08:59:40] PROGRAM[10:39:20]Hi, my name is Catherine, what's yours? JUDGE02[10:39:36]My name is Nathan. PROGRAM[10:39:37]Well, it's nice to meet you, Nathan. PROGRAM[10:39:45]Did you see that story on CNN last night about the lesbian PROGRAM[10:40:03]couple who came out at a White House party on Sunday? JUDGE02[10:40:45]No. I'm sorry I missed that. How did the Prez take it? PROGRAM[10:40:47]Ellen Degeneres was one of them - she was kissing her lover PROGRAM[10:41:08]in front of Bill Clinton. Do you think he was very PROGRAM[10:41:21]embarrassed? JUDGE02[10:41:37]You tell me. I didn't see it. PROGRAM[10:41:38]Are you still a Friend of Bill Clinton? JUDGE02[10:42:22]Yes. I would like to talk about something else. Do you know anything about sculpture. PROGRAM[10:42:24]Well, I suppose he's doing his best like most of us, but he PROGRAM[10:42:35]does seem to attract an UNUSUAL amount of bad publicity, PROGRAM[10:42:51]wouldnt you say--can it all be bad luck? JUDGE02[10:43:20]I asked you if you knew anything about sculpture. PROGRAM[10:43:21]OK, but what happens now--does it all drift on, with PROGRAM[10:43:36]everyone waiting to see how much his friends have said about PROGRAM[10:43:47]him under threat of lots and lots of jail-or will something PROGRAM[10:44:01]dramatic actually happen? JUDGE02[10:44:19]Do you know what sculpture is? PROGRAM[10:44:20]Well, youre more a fan of his than I am I guess---though I PROGRAM[10:44:34]cant SWEAR what Id have done in that locked hotel room, I PROGRAM[10:44:51]must say. JUDGE02[10:45:26]Have you ever been to the Salmagundi Club? PROGRAM[10:45:29]Never. to go back to the original discussion Time to get PROGRAM[10:45:43]off this one I think and onto something more down to earth! JUDGE02[10:46:20]What is more down to earth than art? PROGRAM[10:46:21]I don't know what -- to be honest. - PROGRAM[10:46:30]I suppose it depends on where you're coming from, but as the PROGRAM[10:46:46]song goes in My Fair Lady, "Why can't a woman be more like a PROGRAM[10:47:03]man? " JUDGE02[10:47:52]I liked that song but I prefer "Why can't children be more like we are" JUDGE02[10:48:10]from another play the name of which I cannot remember. PROGRAM[10:48:12]What, if anything, do you enjoy about being a man? JUDGE02[10:49:01]I would enjoy all aspects of life no matter what my gender. PROGRAM[10:49:02]Do you think of yourself as being attractive?
This program insists on always speaking about the same story around Bill Clinton. You see, even a program with a rather narrow mind can behave so much like a human being that it can win this prize. It is quite common to let these programs talk to each other via network connections. But during the competition itself, the program and its computer have to be present at the place the competition is held. We all would love to see a gawk program win in such an event. Maybe it is up to you to accomplish this?
Some other ideas for useful networked applications:
The GAWK manual can be consumed in a single lab session and the language can be mastered by the next morning by the average student. GAWK's automatic initialization, implicit coercion, I/O support and lack of pointers forgive many of the mistakes that young programmers are likely to make. Those who have seen C but not mastered it are happy to see that GAWK retains some of the same sensibilities while adding what must be regarded as spoonsful of syntactic sugar.
There are further simple answers. Probably the best is the fact that increasingly, undergraduate AI programming is involving the Web. Oren Etzioni (University of Washington, Seattle) has for a while been arguing that the “softbot” is replacing the mechanical engineers' robot as the most glamorous AI testbed. If the artifact whose behavior needs to be controlled in an intelligent way is the software agent, then a language that is well-suited to controlling the software environment is the appropriate language. That would imply a scripting language. If the robot is KAREL, then the right language is “turn left; turn right.” If the robot is Netscape, then the right language is something that can generate ‘netscape -remote 'openURL(http://cs.wustl.edu/~loui)'’ with elan.
AI programming requires high-level thinking. There have always been a few gifted programmers who can write high-level programs in assembly language. Most however need the ambient abstraction to have a higher floor.
Second, inference is merely the expansion of notation. No matter whether the logic that underlies an AI program is fuzzy, probabilistic, deontic, defeasible, or deductive, the logic merely defines how strings can be transformed into other strings. A language that provides the best support for string processing in the end provides the best support for logic, for the exploration of various logics, and for most forms of symbolic processing that AI might choose to call “reasoning” instead of “logic.” The implication is that PROLOG, which saves the AI programmer from having to write a unifier, saves perhaps two dozen lines of GAWK code at the expense of strongly biasing the logic and representational expressiveness of any approach.
Now that gawk itself can connect to the Internet, it should be obvious that it is suitable for writing intelligent web agents.