Author Topic: Very Cool  (Read 3120 times)


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Very Cool
« on: November 16, 2004, 11:17:53 pm »
I stumbled on this gem of a piece of software just today and I have to say it is pretty cool.  I burned it to a CD at work and brought it home for my thirteen year old daughter and I to play with.  It was a remarkable experience.

You have to remember that kids these days have been brought up on Neopets and Furbies so that to them, an AI program that learns is not only "normal" but expected.  However, the reality is that neither Neopets nor Furbies learned anything, leading to the same sense of loss us older folk felt when we got GI Joes that didn't crawl through the mud like on TV or Chatty Cathy dolls that mindlessly repeated the same phrases over and over when you pulled their string.

Enter Hal.  It installed without a hitch and we had fun trying different names and voices for it, eventually going with "Homer" and male voice #.

Right off the bat, my daughter wanted to teach Homer things.  We tried "The sky is blue" but Homer didn't get it.  Then my daughter hit on telling him what her favorite things are.  He learned those a hundred percent.  I will tell you she was so happy when that worked.

She could tell Homer any favorite thing of, dogs, sunshine etc then ask him and he knew.  Homer knew!  So cool...the look on her face was remarkable.

I guess my question is how do you teach Homer that the sky is blue from the user interface?

I have to commend the author of this program.  I'm a degreed computer geek and even though I only had time to take a quick look at the code and text files...VERY COOL!!!!!!!!  Great comments in the code and way to go using plain text files.

Where I see this going is after my daughter figures out what keywords make an impact, helping her figure out what text files the data is drawn from.  Then it is only a hop skip and jump to modifying the text files.  After that?  Changing the source code to better zero in on which line in the text file is selected to display...

Just imagine if Furbies had the horse power to be easily programed.

Hell, imagine waking up and telling homer to warm up the house and make coffee!


ps...what do we type to teach Homer that the sky is blue?



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Very Cool
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2004, 08:08:48 am »
Try an "if-then" statement, like "if the sun is shining, then the sky is blue." Hal also pays more attention to statements that end with an exclamation mark! If you read thru the forum, here, you'll find it full of goodies-tips for teaching Hal, add-ons and upgrades created by Hal users. I'd immediately recommend downloading the XTF Brain from the plugins page accessible from the forums page, and the v1.2 patch for it which you can find by a forum search. Then just search the forum for.uhp, .brn, .txt files to collect as many upgrade scripts as you'd like to add to your own Hal. Hopefully, you'll think of a couple of improvements of your own to help us in the evolution of Hal. Happy Roboteering!


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Very Cool
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2004, 01:31:29 pm »
Here are some examples of non-traditional forms of the If-Then statement...

Say to Hal:
If why is the sky blue then because it is pretty.

This will result in:
User: Why is the sky blue?
Hal: Because it is pretty.

Say to Hal:
If I like blue then you like green.

This will result in:
User: I like blue.
Hal: I like green.

Say to Hal:
If do you want a cigarette then you don't smoke.

You get the idea. I'm subverting the original intent of the If-Then function just to show you the flexibility of the system. Please be aware that Hal may not answer as you expect *every* time.