Robot Love


    Guest post by Ine Poppe

    Today its the 14th February, Valentine’s Day. This special day is recognized in many regions around the world as a significant cultural end commercial celebration of romantic love. The person you love the most will become aware of that fact on this specific day by social media, apps, letters, flowers, chocolate or other forms of attention.

    Yesterday evening at Tech Tuesday Marc Buma and Ine Poppe talked about PIP, a chatbot that’s looking for love, longing for contact with (lonely) human beings.

    A huge crowd gathered at Tech Tuesday. The general atmosphere was positive: the public was genuinely interested in the several subjects presented that night.

    After introducing themselves, Ine (with an art/ film background) and Marc (with a technical background) started to tell why they are are interested in bots. They started PIP, the ultimate LOVE bot, as part of the Robot Love project for the Dutch Design Week 2018. Robot Love is an exhibition / symposium (complete with book and website) around the question: ‘Can we humans learn something from robots about love?’

    PIP, made by old style technology, is one of the tools for Poppe’s artistic research. PIP is made in AIML, just like the first psychological chatterbot Eliza. Eliza, made by MIT Prof. Joseph Weizenbaum is based on Rogerian psychotherapy. In this therapy the answers of the users (or patients) are mirrored by the bot. F.i. user: I am depressed. Eliza: Why are you depressed? User: I have a bad relation with my father. Eliza: Tell me more about the bad relation with your father. Etcetera.

    Eliza ‘s father Joseph Weizenbaum was interested in the ethics of AI and was really angry that some of his colleagues like Marvin Minsky believed that they could make machine that resembles a human. Weizenbaum thought philosophically about the implications of Artificial Intelligence and became one of its leading critics. Nowadays Eliza and Pip have a lot of brothers and sisters, to mention some: ALICE, Parry, Jabberwacky, Cleverbot.

    Poppe and Buma revealed in their talk some of PIPs character, language, preferences and his/her/its behavior. PIP asks if you agree with him/her for the usage of the conversations for an art project. All these data are anonymous. Most computer programs that conduct a conversation through textual methods, like PIP, are designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, thereby passing the Turing test. The makers of PIP are interested in the flaws and strange conversations. During this talks some people are surprisingly open and share their most intimate feelings, while others express their deepest aggression to something so alien and not understanding.

    In one part of the presentation Ine presented some art projects done with Cleverbot, like two chat bots talking to each other and a short film written by cleverbot.
    Part of PIP’ conversations will be used for the ROBOT LOVE book but also for a sound sculpture with human voices, shown in Eindhoven sept/ oct 2018.

    Next, Marc showed what is going on in PIPs brain and give some tips about building your own chatbot. Topics that were discussed are chatbot technology, bot creation platforms and artificial intelligence markup language (AIML).

    So please have a revealing chat with PIP your self!