The Atomic Playboy and the Radiation Romeo

The button below will open a new browser window displaying the Flash interface for Atomic and Romeo (Version 16 with Preloader). You will find a page of introductory text, some instructions and then the interface where you can suggest a topic for conversation.

This version 16 uses the landscape layout, updates the heckler and end-of-conversation functions with an audio sign-off. All the features from previous versions remain - scroll bar control,custId variable allows me to better log and track conversations.

The chat-bots are hosted on the Pandorabots server under the Shared Service subscription. Please note, the terms of the Updated Policy Guidelines for Free Community Server state that the “Use of automated scripts to make your pandorabot talk to itself or another bot or script” is proscribed (Pandorabots 2011). This project is being developed with the agreement of the Pandorabots Inc management and we would like to acknowledge their support. ( Pandorabots )

Please leave a comment...

After you have had a play with Atomic and Romeo please use this link to leave a comment.
Maybe you could suggest a topic of conversation or a layout suggestion.
All suggestions gratefully received.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New chat bot characters

The very first play I wrote for Footlice Theatre Company was a one-act black(ish) comedy called 'The Atomic Playboy and the Radiation Romeo Fall in Love'. That was 1993.

Set in a student residence, it tells the story of a love triangle between the Atomic Playboy (a PhD student), the Radiation Romeo (an under-graduate student befriended by the Atomic Playboy) and the Thoroughly Post-Modern Milly (an undergraduate student who, as a post-modern gesture, only speaks in recognisable quotes).

For this project I'm considering bringing Atomic and Romeo back to life. Maybe only Romeo will actually be 'alive'. Atomic's back story is a bit more complicated. Atomic is dead. However, before he shuffled off this mortal coil, he had programmed a chat-bot with his 'wisdom' and witticisms. Romeo has faithfully kept Atomic going over the years by creating a chat-bot of himself for Atomic to talk to.

This set-up seems to have a couple of advantages. First, by fixing Atomic in time (his knowledge of the world has stalled in the mid 1990s - so 20th Century!) this allows him an idiosyncratic view of the world. Romeo, and the audience, know more of the world than he does. Second, it reverses the roles they played in the original script - the 'worldly' Atomic and the 'naive' Romeo. This is a good 'odd-couple' mix. Third, the unresolved romantic tension over their relationship with the 'Thoroughly Post-Modern Milly' is a nice piece of relationship business. Finally, as Romeo is still alive when the user is watching the interchange it's possible they could be seeing the 'human' Romeo conversing with Atomic or they could be watching the chat-bot 'Romeo' at work. This human / non-human character of Romeo will be introduced in the setup page of the chat-bot site.

The next production question is: How much 'standard' AIML should I use? As one of the recent comments pointed out the single sentence conversations are much more punchy and useful. Editing out all of the multiple sentence replies is tedious. However, starting completely from scratch ( an absolutely blank slate that doesn't even know how to respond to "Hello") could be equally time consuming. There is a certain purity to the blank slate...

Things to consider.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Another 'test' version...

This version of the interface is a test of stage setting material. I've added a curtain opening and a bit of introductory text just to see how it would all work.

You can clear all the fields and all the text by clicking the 'Clear' button.

Most of the dialog is based on the standard Alice set. However, a few AIML elements have been changed - those relating to 'animals', 'ducks' and a few other oddities.

Have a play and let me know what you think.

This is a link will open a new browser window displaying the Flash .swf interface of Version 16

The bots are hosted on the Pandorabots site ( Pandorabots )

Friday, June 10, 2011

A topic word or a sentence?

I've been playing with Dick Trickster and Detayle Bhoy today. These guys are my proof of concept bots - the final ones may be the "Atomic Playboy" and the "Radiation Romeo" - more of that later...

Anyway, I'm debating whether to invite the user to put in a topic word, such as 'ducks' or 'climate change', and then have Detayle Bhoy ask Dick Trickster a pre-formed question like - What do you know about X? I could then concatenate the user's topic word, replacing the X, with the question to get something like - What do you know about ducks?

This has a couple of advantages. First it will be easier to train the initial responses as the vast majority of inputs will be nouns - concrete or otherwise. Second, the structure of the input as a question is an obvious conversation starter. The downside is that it may look a little contrived.

Allowing the user to put in a sentence, for example, 'How are you feeling today?' means that (in the current development) Detayle Bhoy picks up that sentence and delivers it to Dick Trickster. This is acceptable but it doesn't automatically start a conversation between to the two bots. The user, once they have asked the question is left out of the conversation - just a little alienating.

We'll see how it goes.

Problem solved...

Thanks to Dr Wallace and the good people at Pandorabots my project has a 'home'.

I've purchased an account of the Shared Service to host my bots. We're back in business. This is also a much more open, transparent, and professional way of undertaking the research.

I really appreciate the
enthusiasm and support I've received from Pandorabots - thanks guys!