Eliza was... Eliza is... A computer program. She is 40 years old this year. You would talk to Eliza and it would respond to you. I've linked above to wikipedia's entry on her. But to give a quick summary, she could take apart your sentence and turn it into a responding question.
User: My Head Hurts
Eliza: Why do you say your head hurts?
U: My mother hates me
E: Who else in your family hates you
Eventually, someone created Zippy which was a random "Zippy the pinhead" quotation generator. Zippy was an alternative comic strip with the central character who primarily spoke in surreal observations.
The urban legend of a major university's computer being taken down by someone unleashing Zippy and Eliza on each other is in fact... just legend. (But none the less fun to think about)
Over time... Eliza bots have increased in their capabilities. They actually can be engaging, informative, and sometimes quite spooky. Some can also suck really badly. (Try AIM's Moviebuddy at some point) This all leads me to dear Dr. Alan Turing. Turing made tests devised to recognize sentience. This is actually a gross over simplification because Turing was actually trying to prove that there was no point to try to devise tests to help deduce if you were talking to a machine or a human... but such is beyond the scope of this post. (Gods I've always wanted to write that)
The Turing test is a proposal for a test of a machine's capability to perform human-like conversation.
So, every now and then I like talking to bots to see how long it will take for me to get a response that says, "Well, gosh... I guess I'm not real and here's an awkward response to prove it."
Looking over my past conversations with my dear jnanacandra. I looked at a link to alicebot. This is basically a web site for people who like to develop Bots. Currently the most popular one is called iGod. Under the cut is my conversation with iGod. It took me frighteningly few lines to cause iGod to really stumble.
If you wish to repent with iGod, you can try it at the iGod site.
Me: Um, hello?
God: Ugh. Hello my child. What is your name?
Me: I am called Andrei on this mortal coil
God: What's up, Andrei on this mortal coil.
Okay, I deserved that. For every, 'Late as in the late Dentarthurdent' joke. I really should have seen this coming.
Me: I am seeking divinity
God: There is a seeker born every minute. --- Firesign Theater.
Me: I am the walrus
God: Who made you the walrus ?
Personally, I would have prefered, "coo coo ca cho". This response was fine, however.
Me: That's a good question. I guess, then, that it was John Lennon who was really the Walrus
God: Thanks. Next question? Is that your opinion?
Me: I guess it's more the opinion of pop culture as a whole.
God: I've heard of it before.
This was a warning. It sort of makes sense, but really not the response I was expecting. So of course... I had to respond appropriately...
Me: You're omnipotent, you probably would have, by definition
God: Thanks for telling me that I am omnipotent me probably would have by definition.
Oops. That didn't scan right at all. Definitely a bot. Game over.
So as an afterthought just now...
Me: That didn't make any sense
God: It all makes sense to my logical mind.
So, comments? Well, my interactive comments are above. A couple of minor things... I think that any pronoun iGod uses to refer to self should be capitalized. I also think for the sake of the interface iGod's words should be in a red font. Anyone who's ever read the bible knows that Jesus and God always spoke in red print. :)