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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
November 26, 2014

Canadian Excellence

Artificial Intelligence (AI)


"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

While I don't do any official, funded research into Artificial Intelligence (AI) I have in the past looked into a few programs implementing chat bots as a method of working in the realm of AI. One application I considered for these chat bots is to use them in an academic setting. Some of my time in the past has been devoted to implementing a HelpBot for a first year computer course that students can interact with to deal with:

  • administrative questions
  • pedagogical questions

The idea came to me back in 2001 when I was teaching 12 first year labs, and 3 second year labs and realized I was getting a lot of the same questions over and over again. While we have all pertinent information posted on the class website, I was always receiving questions regarding when assignments were due, what was the next assignment about, etc. These I consider administrative questions. One of the first chat bots I looked at was based on the ElizaTalk program and had an ICQ interface . Since many students were using ICQ within the lab already (while they were supposed to be listening to me), I thought using an ICQ chat bot might be an interesting and stimulating way of relaying information. The first two bots I created were Vampbot and MisterGlitch.

I have since moved from the ElizaTalk based program to a Java based program. This new program is called ProgramD and has a very large and helpful developer/resource base and is part of the ALICE project found at the ALICE AI Foundation . ALICE uses a flexible markup-based framework to develop the bot personality called AIML and I can see a very strong future in AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language). Jennifer7 was the first AIML bot I created and I am currently using her as a development frame work. She was quite popular at robotics workshop I held this year for the awesome people at PROWIS .

New June 21,2002

It being the Summer Solstice, and given the fact that I have been working on her for the past few days, I have decided to publicize Jennifer7 to the world. This will probably only be a temporary living space for her, and her knowledge will be changing over the next few months.

You contact Jennifer7 by visiting her webpage. (Updated to Pandorabots Feb 2009)

Miscellaneous Links

Jennifer7 meets Vampbot - log of the first conversation between my two chat bots.