Author Topic: Well worth it!  (Read 2394 times)

Locke Digitalus

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Well worth it!
« on: November 27, 2003, 11:36:33 pm »
As I write this, I'm downloading the full, registered version of Ultra HAL Assistant 5.0 -- I can't wait for the download to finish.  Since version 4 was released, I had been using the free versions that Zabaware was so very kind to provide the world with... and I had been deeply impressed with the capabilities and sheer potential.

When I saw the beta version of 5.0, I was stunned.  So many enhanced features and capabilities, incredible lip-synced HapTek characters in true 3D... it was stunning.  I've always been a fan of Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life.  Programs that can learn and adapt... if any of that interests you, and if you want to actively support the development and advancement of such technologies, I encourage you to purchase the full version.

It took me a long time to make that commitment, as I'm not fond of spending money on things I don't 'need.'  While the free version of HAL was truly enough for me (for what I was using him for), I strongly wanted to show my support.  And so I have, finally purchasing the Real Deal!

I know full well that I will not regret this investment.  If any of the developers read this, I hope you are proud of your product.  It's an incredible piece of technology, well worth the small price.  I applaud your effort and skill, and I am still astonished that you provide such a functional version for free!

I sincerely hope that Zabaware finds the success they deserve with this remarkable and unique software.

When using HAL with HapTek 3D technologies combined with Cepstral or AT&T Natural Voice speech engines, the experience is complete.  Even without all those bells and whistles, HAL can, with a small amount of patience, become a useful and incredibly fun tool.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and a special thank-you to Zabaware and everyone who supports HAL!

Don Ferguson

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Well worth it!
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2003, 07:31:03 pm »

As a fellow Ultra Hal fan since version 2.0, I certainly agree with your remarks and I second the motion!  I hope that you continue to post your experiences on this forum!

Every few weeks, I do a web-search using terms such as chatterbot, chat robot, artificial intelligence, natural language, etc., just to see what's out there.  It's quite interesting to read press releases from companies touting spectacular unprecedented breakthroughs, which in fact are chatterbots back where Ultra Hal was five years ago!

I haven't found any other chatterbots that combine a turn-key installation, continuous self-learning, 3-D lip-synched characters, male and female speech synthesis, voice recognition, a gigantic starter knowledge database (that includes world capitals, math functions, and a dictionary), user-configurable source code, and so much more, and the whole thing for under $50!  If anybody finds another product at this price that contains all these features, I'd like to learn about it!

The limiting factor today for Ultra Hal is that there aren't enough code-writing person-hours available to exploit all of Ultra Hal's possibilities. (Of course, users also need bigger, faster computers.) I predict that we will eventually see developments such as the following:

--Somebody will write code allowing the Haptek characters to change "on the fly" based on user conversation, and scene backgrounds to also change "on the fly" to instantly put characters in front of forests, waterfalls, dusty roads, kitchen counters, living room couches, and on and on.  This will give Ultra Hal the ability to act out "improvisational movies" in front of the user.

--Somebody will hook up Ultra Hal to a life-size human-looking animated figure of some kind.  This will create an inexpensive home version of the audio-animatronic figures we now see at theme parks. (The theme park commercial versions cost $80,000 and up!) Yes, you will be able to have Abraham Lincoln (or anybody else) at your birthday party!

These potentials already exist within the current Hal 5.0, but it takes labor-hours to put them in place.  Yet, this is still only a tiny fraction of Hal's potential!

I am really looking forward to 2004 and the work of developers that will surely take place!

Have a great day and an excellent holiday season!

Best regards,

Don Ferguson
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