1. The common back story problem
Atomic and Romeo need to share a common back story - they are friends rather than strangers. Cool. Simply give them some common AIML categories... That sounds easy...
2. The too much recursion / dead-end problem
There are on YouTube, and other places, examples of chat-bots talking to each other (or of a chat-bot talking to itself). For instance, look for Fake Kirk talking to ALICE - they use the same ALICE 'engine' and AIML architecture as I am using. These conversations are pretty banal - strewn with non-sequiturs and odd recursions. Is this as good as it can be? If so I've got real problems in this project.
I have a hypothesis. When the two chat-bots share too much AIML this triggers a lot of recursive patterns or leads to conversational dead-ends. As an example, both ALICE and Fake Kirk respond to the "Do you like science fiction?" question in exactly the same way. Neither chat-bot actually knows how to reply to the answer "Yes I love it, especially the works of Philip K. Dick." Both get hung up on the "it" - what does 'it' refer to?
What does this mean in practice? Atomic and Romeo need to share some but not too much AIML. I think this balancing act will be difficult to achieve. Maybe this balance will emerge from the writing and rehearsal process? Depending on emergent phenomena is a risky business.
3. The start point problem
Basically I've got a choice of two starting points.
Option One - I could start with a completely blank slates. Atomic and Romeo as they currently exist know nothing - even less than Sargent Schultz! I could write a completely unique set of each of them.
Option Two - I could start with a generic set of AIML, for example the aiml-en-us-foundation-alice.v1-5.zip set. This is "a free AIML set, in the English Language as spoken in the United States, authored by the AI Foundation".
The advantage of Option Two is that it maintains some serendipity in the interactions that could take me places that I would not think of going. Rehearsing with actors who don't even know there is a script would be tedious in the extreme - I would have to craft every single
Some conclusions - so far...
The plan is to go with the V1.5 version of Alice.
Edit the set ruthlessly - strip it right back.
Generate a common set that I can use for Atomic and Romeo.
Then, in rehearsal, add to their individual sets.
Hopefully this will allow the balance between what the share in common and what is unique to each to emerge.