2009, pp 181-210

The Anatomy of A.L.I.C.E.

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Abstract

This paper is a technical presentation of Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity (A.L.I.C.E.) and Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML), set in context by historical and philosophical ruminations on human consciousness. A.L.I.C.E., the first AIML-based personality program, won the Loebner Prize as “the most human computer” at the annual Turing Test contests in 2000, 2001, and 2004. The program, and the organization that develops it, is a product of the world of free software. More than 500 volunteers from around the world have contributed to her development. This paper describes the history of A.L.I.C.E. and AIML-free software since 1995, noting that the theme and strategy of deception and pretense upon which AIML is based can be traced through the history of Artificial Intelligence research. This paper goes on to show how to use AIML to create robot personalities like A.L.I.C.E. that pretend to be intelligent and selfaware. The paper winds up with a survey of some of the philosophical literature on the question of consciousness. We consider Searle’s Chinese Room, and the view that natural language understanding by a computer is impossible. We note that the proposition “consciousness is an illusion” may be undermined by the paradoxes it apparently implies. We conclude that A.L.I.C.E. does pass the Turing Test, at least, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, for some of the people some of the time.