Moment One - This morning I was out walking my dogs - clear sky, warm breeze, rowers unzipping the smooth waters of Throsby Creek. Nice. What was I thinking about? The post-human condition! Talk about not being in the moment! Anyway, I've been doing some introductory reading in the area and it occurred to me that the the logic of post-humanism traces its ancestry from people like Lewis Mumford (The Myth of the Machine), Marshall McLuhan (The Gutenberg Galaxy - and others), George Landow (Hypertext 2.0 and 3.0) through Jay Bolter (Remediation) to Bruno Latour, N. Katherine Hayles, and Robert Pepperell.
The narrative through-line of all of these seems to be (as a first thought based on scant reading) that we simultaneously make and are made by our technologies and media. And that's what part of my exegesis is about - the making and the made. Humour theory, creativity theory, scriptwriting and dramaturgy, and artificial intelligence all have in common the relationship between the making and the made. These different disciplines theorize about the made (the product), the making (the process), and what these products and processes do for and to us (the social, psychological and cultural making of us).
Moment Two - I was riding to work when I had this revelation about technique. As such it sounds less deep, less profound than the discussion above. But the truth is, it's all about the making and without that these is no made. I've been consider ways of converting a simple two character script structure into AIML - how to split a script so that output from one (<template>) is input for the other (<pattern>) without having to manually code for one chat-bot and then re-code for the other.
At work this morning I experimented with some song lyrics - Pulp's Common People because it's funny and has a clear narrative. I used the Pandorawriter on the Pandorabots site - it's a "Dialog to AIML Parser", in other words it converts dialog, delimited by a vacant line, into AIML. I fed in the first verse and out came an AIML file with a <category> for each pair of the lines set as <pattern> and <template>. See below, let's call this Atomic's text:
Then I deleted the first line and ran it through the Pandorawriter again. Let's call this Romeo's text.<category>
<pattern> She came from Greece she had a thirst for knowledge </pattern>
<template> she studied sculpture at Saint Martin's College </template>
What does this do? When Atomic receives the line "She came from Greece she had a thirst for knowledge" he says, "she studied sculpture at Saint Martin's College". This is then thrown to Romeo who then says, "that's where I". And so on - Atomic and Romeo can sing a song, each taking a line.
<pattern> she studied sculpture at Saint Martin s College </pattern>
<template> that's where I </template>
The big advantage of this little technique is that I can write a script in any simple text editing program and then feed it through the Pandorawriter. To be honest, this is a very important revelation. It frees me from the need to simultaneously to be a script writer and a code writer. A very useful division of labour.