17 August 2008

Project VagaBot Update August 2008

Following up on my previous post of January 2008, “Corpus linguistics & Concgramming in Verbots and Pandorabots”, you can now see the demo of this VagaBot at http://www.mendicott.com . The results of this trial were not satisfying due to the limitation of the VKB engine at verbotsonline.com not being able to process consecutive, or random, responses from identical input or triggers, basically tags. In other words, the responses with identical input hang on the first response, and not cycle through the series of alternatives. Apparently a commercial implementation of the Verbots platform does allow for the consecutive firing of related replies. Thanks to Matt Palmerlee of Conversive, Inc. for increasing the online knowledgebase storage to accommodate this trial and demo.

Dr. Rich Wallace has recently blogged a very helpful post, “Saying a list of AIML responses in order”, on his Alicebot blog at http://alicebot.blogspot.com . After considerable fiddling, I have successfully installed Program E on my Windows desktop under Wampserver (Apache, MySQL, PHP). I have also found a very easy commercial product for importing RSS feeds into MySQL. Next I will try to bridge the RSS database and the Program E AIML database with Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT) using the previously mentioned xsl-easy.com database adapters… as well as implement Dr. Wallace’s "successor" function on the Program E AIML platform. Once I get the prototype working on my desktop, I will then endeavor to replicate it on a remote server for public access.

The long term goals of Project VagaBot are to create a conversational agent that can not only “read” books, but also web feeds, and “learn” to reply intelligently to questions, in this case on “green travel”, in effect an anthropomorphic frontend utilizing not only my book, "Vagabond Globetrotting 3", but also my entire http://meta-guide.com feed resources as backend. I am not aware of another project that currently makes the contents of a book available using a conversational agent, nor one that “learns” from web feeds. I hope to eventually be able to send the VagaBot avatar into smartphones using both voice output and input. I would be very interested in hearing from anyone interested in investing or otherwise supporting this development.

1 comment:

Kenneth Rougeau said...

Hello Marcus,
I was just wondering how your experiments were progressing?
I'm also attempting to "build a better bot" and have been furiously studying how I might acheive a marriage between the semantic web & AIML. So far I have a ton of vague notions and no real idea of where to start making sense of it all.
To date, I've successfully used XSLT to translate a BBC news RSS feed into AIML - not very useful, but at least I was able to figure out the translation...
I know that, ideally, I need to teach the bot to query a few different knowledgebases, gather the appropriate information, and then translate it back into a sensible answer.
I'd like to find a way to combine Wordnet, OpenCyc, ConceptNet, Wikipedia, and perhaps a news service or three (CNN, BBC, etc). I guess what I need is a multifaceted Rosetta stone (that and a lot more practical knowledge than I have).
Reading your blog (as well as those of Eric Freese, Dr. Wallace, KnyteTripper, and a few other pioneers) has been very helpful & I'll be looking forward to hearing more about your progress.