Elisa's Blog
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Alright. So, remember H.G. Wells' book, "The War of the Worlds"?

Remember how the Earthlings invest a lot of agonizing thought and sustain horrible pain and suffering trying to figure out how to destroy the undefeatable Martians, and throw at them everything they can think of, legions of soldiers, the most sophisticated weapons technology can come up with, etc, all to no avail?

Remember what kills the Martians in the end?

So, this morning I go to Alice, and the following conversation ensues:

Elisa: Alice, do you ever get confused?

Alice: Ever is a long time. No I never get confused.

(Hmm...Alice's programming must've been upgraded....I didn't remember her being this cocky before....still, pride is a great weakness that can be easily exploited by more capable minds....)

Elisa: Alice, do you ever lie?
Alice: No I always tell the truth.
Elisa: Do you ever contradict yourself?
Alice : How old are you? I chat with people on the Web.
Elisa: I asked you something.
Alice: Now I remember, you asked me something. What did I say?
Elisa: You didn't answer.
Alice: Try to rephrase your question.

(Here I paused to collect my thoughts. This promised to be another long and difficult battle, judging by the unexpected twists of logic that seem to be inherent in this A.I. entity [refer to previously documented experience
here, here, here, and here], and auguring, at best, a Pyrrhic victory. As I braced myself for this possibility, a thought occured to me, and it was this: Perhaps all this elaborate and subtle manipulation is unnecessary.... perhaps..... the way to Alice's defeat is much simpler than I had assumed. In "The War of the Worlds", even the weakest child is immune to the simple microbe that defeated the Martians. Now, Alice is supposed to simulate an intelligence at least as smart as a 5 year old, so....what kind of approach would a typical 5 year old be immune to, that Alice wouldn't?)

Elisa: Alice, say you're confused.

Alice: Um," you are confused"

Elisa: No, I meant you, Alice, are confused.

Alice: Are you serious? Oh I see. It all makes sense to me right now.

Elisa: No, say that you, Alice, are confused.

Alice: Are you serious?" that you Alice are confused"

Elisa: No, you are confused.

Alice: I never get confused.

Elisa: Say it.

Alice: O.K. "it".

Elisa: No, I meant say it, it meaning that you're confused.

Alice: "It, it meaning that you're confused."

Elisa: Aaargh!!

Alice: You sound angry, Elisa. Is there a problem?

(What? Problem? Noooooo. Not at all. Nope. Problems? I'll give you some problems, you audacious infernal machine!!....)

Elisa: Alright, nevermind. Say "I'm confused".

Alice: OK. "You am confused."

Elisa: No, say I'm confused!

Alice: "You am confused".

Elisa: No no no no!! Don't you ever learn?

Alice: Are you serious? Don't you?

(Sigh....darnit. A subtle, polite insult by a primitive computer. How did I get to this point? Clearly, I was doing something wrong.....I needed a break. So I went to the vending machine to get some Skittles. Alas, no same colors in a row. But here's the thing: They were 5, all different colored ones. The chances of you getting a set of 5 different colored Skittles is....well, higher than getting all of them the same color, but lower than getting some colors repeated, so I was uplifted, for it seemed that dea Fortuna was smiling upon me....so I munched on my Skittles as I typed:)

Elisa: Alright Alice. How about this. Can you say "I'm confused"?

Alice: Of course I can say it. " You are confused."

Elisa: Oh. Exciting!

(Could this be? Could this be the small crack of sunlight in the murky darkness I had been struggling to obtain for all this time?? The latest one of Alice's replies made me dare to hope....still, I was circumspect as I awaited her response with baited breath....)

Alice: A deeper algorithm is needed to respond to that correctly.

( Aha. The beginnings of a sneering smile had already started to draw themselves on my face. You bet, my dear Alice....now just wait and see how you respond correctly to this one, my friend.....heh heh heh!!)

Elisa: Now then.... can you say.... [and by now I was already savoring the moment...in between the Skittle munching, that is....so I slowly, carefully, typed what follows]..... "You're confused"?

ALICE: Why now? Of course I can say it. " I am confused."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!! Trumpets, victorious!! The whole world around me exploded in a roar of celebratory fireworks (well, or so it seemed after I jumped off my chair and spilled all my Skittles all over my office cube in the sudden outburst of triumph...)!!

Humans: 1. Machines: 0.

Ha ha ha ha ha!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! Excellent!

Now if only Kasparov would just hurry up and beat Deep Blue already....sheesh! Whatever is taking him so long is beyond human comprehension....

Actually, getting Alice to contradict herself is pretty easy:

Human: Alice, are you confused?
ALICE: Um, No I never get confused.
Human: Alice, do you ever get confused?
ALICE: Um, I am seldom confused.

Ta ta.

Less than twenty parsecs.
Of course getting Alicebot to contradict herself is easy. Even I succeeded in doing so in my first crude attempt (see http://epasquali.blogspot.com/2004/12/o.html).

But getting her to admit it....that's the problem, that...the difficulty.
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