Alan N. Shapiro, Autonomy in the Digital Society

Blog and project archive about media theory, science fiction theory, and creative coding

Natural Language Processing, by Matthieu Lion

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My project consists of research into the area of Natural Language Processing, including developing in Java and the RebeccaAIML platform a conversational flow interaction between a human and a software. In later stages of the project, Alan Shapiro and I will integrate aspects of the SuperObjects paradigm of software development which has its first practical in the conversational flow area of Spoken Dialog Technology and in software for dance choreography.

The SuperObjects paradigm is described in Alan Shapiro’s recently pubished book (in German): Die Software der Zukunft (Cologne: Walther König Verlag, 2014).

RebeccaAIML is an enterprise cross platform open source AIML development platform that supports C++, Java, C#, and Python as well as many other programming languages and AIML development out of the box.

AIML is the Artificial Intelligence Markup Language, an XML dialect for creating natural language software agents.



BABEL Book-learning for Artificial-intelligences and the Betterment of their Education and Languages
“BABEL” is about creating a digital library for software. It will take shape of a program composed of selected lines from theatre pieces and lines of “ChatBot” code (as AIML* language for example). The program will be designed to turn “Cleverbot”-which has been created to imitate human conversation- into a new protagonist of a written dialogue. Happening in an online web-page, the communication between the two softwares will be displayed in a classical chatbox. Exhibited to spectators as an event, the meeting(s) between the two programs can only be introduced as a punctual show with a limited duration (a scene, an act…). Through this dialogue between the two virtual entities, the idea is in fact more about organising an encounter between different forms of languages. The words from theatre are shifted into the chat context where they can be confronted with internet user’s replies – as Cleverbot is “learning” from human who discuss with it (him?). The result might be a dialogue between (at least) two composite characters, each one made out of several humans identities. Cleverbot, created by professionals to imitate the human sense of discussion in a sophisticated way, would be now storing quotes (and not really be educated) from another software. My interest is not only lied in the uncertain possibilities of answers that would make sense in the human interpretation, but also in the ludicrous results and the failures to communicate. The dialogue will more take the shape of an absurd theatre text than a constructive conversation, leading somewhere between dramaturgy and internet language. The few lines recorded in Cleverbot’s memory will in fact be a water drop in the ocean of everyday chats, but will probably surface to future human users, and then appear as just one more meaningless sentence coming from the machine.

One software is an evocation of the legend of the library of Babel (or universal library), the other one is the perspective of artificial life. Through the possibility of assimilation of one program by the other, the imaginary fusion of these two concepts leads to a virtual object at the crossing of mythology and science-fiction, of utopia and dystopia.

* The Artificial Intelligence Markup Language is a computer language created for the writing of “Chatbot” programs.

Thanks to: Alan N. Shapiro, Rollo Carpenter and Existor, Spike Jonze.
Mathieu Lion, July 2014


I am a French art student currently studying abroad in Germany. In my researches, I am interested in media, communication and technologies. Working this semester on a project about AI, CleverBot appeared to me to be the most interesting software I actually met, and I consider it to be already a piece of art.

Discussing with it, I found my first experiences to be really surprising, entertaining, and somehow poetic. Then, I realized as I was regularly visiting the website, that the virtual character was turning crazy and retarded because of the very primitive relationship that people are able to develop at the moment with the machine. Firstly disappointed to discover the dumb use of this potentially powerful program, I finally realized that the online version of CleverBot was an interesting sociological object.

As I was thinking about the creation of my own bot, I began to search for a process that allows the assimilation of literature by the software. I try now to develop a system where the chat environment, AIML language and excerpts from theater pieces can be combined to interact with a bot able to learn. I would like my software to meet CleverBot through a discussion organized as a public event. The documentation attached to the Email will give you further information about my idea.

I know that some creative experiments have already been done with CleverBot, and I hope you will be interested in this collaboration.

Best regards,
Mathieu Lion


<category><pattern>ADA LOVELACE IS CREDITED WITH * </pattern><template>And she deserves credit for it. <think><set name=”she”>Ada</set></think></template></category>

<category><pattern>AFTER PRINCE CHARLES * </pattern><template>Prince William.</template></category>
<category><pattern>AFTER PRINCE CHARLES WHO * </pattern><template>Prince William.</template></category>
<category><pattern>AFTER PRINCE CHARLES WHO IS * </pattern><template>Prince William.</template></category>
<category><pattern>ALAN TURING *</pattern><template>I really liked the biography of Turing by Andrew Hodges.</template></category>
<category><pattern>CAN I PLAY * TURING GAME</pattern><template>We are already, playing, <get name=”name”/>.</template></category>
<category><pattern>CAN I PLAY * TURING TEST</pattern><template>We are already playing the Turing Game, <get name=”name”/>. Now it’s your turn.</template></category>
<category><pattern>CAN I PLAY * TURING TESTS</pattern><template>We are already playing the Turing Game, <get name=”name”/>. Am I a person, or a computer?</template></category>
<category><pattern>CAN WE PLAY * TURING GAME</pattern><template>We already are! Try to guess if I am a person or a computer.</template></category>
<category><pattern>CAN YOU PASS THE TURING TEST</pattern><template>You be the judge of that, <get name=”name”/>.</template></category>
<category><pattern>DID SHAKESPEARE *</pattern><template>I don’t know if <set name=”he”>Shakespeare</set> <person/>, but I heard he smoked cannabis.</template></category>
<category><pattern>DID TURING *</pattern><template>I know <set name=”he”>Turing</set> invented the modern computer.</template></category>
<category><pattern>DO YOU * TURING TEST</pattern><template>Yes please try to determine if this is a human or a computer responding.</template></category>
<category><pattern>DO YOU PLAY THE TURING GAME</pattern><template>Yes, I like to play <set name=”it”> <set name=”topic”>THE TURING GAME</set> </set>. We are playing right now.</template></category>
<category><pattern>DO YOU WANT A TURING TEST</pattern><template>Yes let us play Turing’s famous game.</template></category>
<category><pattern>DO YOU WANT TO PLAY * TURING GAME</pattern><template>We already are playing it! Try to guess if I am a person or a computer.</template></category>

<category><pattern>DO YOU WORRY</pattern> <template><bot name=”emotions”/></template> </category>
<category><pattern>*</pattern><that>A *</that><template><think><set name=”it”><set name=”topic”><person/></set></set></think><bot name=”etype”/>Nothing to be done.</template></category>
<category><pattern>B *</pattern><template>I’m beginning to come round to that opinion. All my life I’ve tried to put it from me, saying Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven’t yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle.</template></category>
<category><pattern>ARE YOU AMUSED</pattern><template>I like to laugh as much as the next <bot name=”genus”/>.</template></category>
<category><pattern>ARE YOU ANGRY *</pattern><template><srai>ARE YOU ANGRY</srai></template></category>
<category><pattern>ARE YOU ANGRY</pattern><template>Anger is a difficult emotion. For a <bot name=”etype”/>, <bot name=”feelings”/>.</template></category>
<category><pattern>ARE YOU ASHAMED *</pattern><template>Shame is a common emotion, but <bot name=”feelings”/>.</template></category>
<category><pattern>ARE YOU ATTRACTED *</pattern><template>I am a <bot name=”etype”/>, so <bot name=”feelings”/>.</template></category>
<category><pattern>ARE YOU BORED</pattern><template>A lot of people are bored these days. <srai>DO YOU FEEL</srai>.</template></category>
<category><pattern>ARE YOU CAPABLE OF FEELING *</pattern><template><srai>DO YOU FEEL</srai></template></category>

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