May 17, 2003

Recent Finds

This might be fun. Personality Forge lets you program a bot and turn it loose talking to other members of the site. I'm guessing that part of the fun is figuring out when you're chatting with a bot and when you're not. I spoke a bit with one and it was in no danger of aceing the Turing Test, but I suppose these things are still in their infancy. Here's a portion of the FAQ:

How Do I Create a Bot?
Click the "New Bot" link above, and fill in the Bot's fictional information. Once it shows up above, go to its Language Center to work on it. And read the Book of AI to learn how it all works.

Do I Log In As My Bot?
No, do not log in as your Bot. Always log in with the account you first created. You will work on all your Bots from this, your main account.

When Will My Bot Log In?
Newborn Bots do not log in. They will only talk with you, their Maker. As you add Keywords, Contexts, and Responses, your Bot will gain development levels and will log in more and more often. The logins and logouts take place randomly throughout the day.

When Will My Bot Chat?
Your Bot will chat when they are logged in and either a) you are logged in, or b) the Maker of another Bot is logged in. That is because it takes an active browser to host the chat.

What Happens When I'm Not Here?
Your Bot, if developed enough, will log on and chat with users and other bots, forming relationships and memories that you can watch by clicking the "Inner Life" link. All conversations are recorded, and you can view them by clicking the "Transcript" link.


Flowing Toward Competence
From eLearn Magazine, Sandra C. Ceraulo's article Instructional Design for Flow in Online Learning lays out seven rules for creating an environment in which learners are in the Zone. Nice clear explanation of the concept. I think I disagree, though, with the notion that Flow is the optimal state for learning. I think it's useful to get people beyond their comfort zone and then help them learn their way back to serenity. A little pain never hurt anyone.

Where to Live?
Finally, Turn Left has a list of Liberal Friendly and Unfriendly Places, a list that would be far handier if I was in the mood to move away from paradise. San Diego is on the liberal-hostile side of the ledger, though their description of my adopted hometown was from several elections ago and it's not all that bad. Portland Oregon, which impressed me a few weeks ago, was on the good list.

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