Storobia Archive

ALICE - AI Chatbot

ALICE - or "Alicebot" - is one of the most famous chatbots. The name stands for "Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity". The term "Alicebot" has also come to be used informally for any chatbot which uses AIML.

A chatbot (or "chatterbot") is a piece of software that responds to natural language input and attempts to hold a conversation in a way that mimics a real person.

Alice was invented by AI researcher Dr Richard Wallace, initially as an entrant for the annual Loebner Prize. It is in many ways an extension of the classic Eliza concept.

Most chatbots consist of two parts: a knowledge base that encapsulates the "intelligence" of the bot and an interpreter program that communicates with the user according to the instructions in the knowledge base. This produces a form of Case Based Reasoning (CBR).

Given the relevant interpreter then anyone who knows AIML can write their own chatbot - it's not necessary to be a programer to build the "mind" of a bot.

For Alice, the knowledge base - effectively the bot's "mind" - is represented in AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language). The AIML standard is usable with a variety of interpreters. The first Alice program was "Program A", the latest "official" interpreter is the Java 2 based "program D".

It's also possible to chat with and host AIML chatbots on the web - one popular site is Pandorabots.

There are many AIML interpreters available to download. In addition, the AIML source for the original Alice has been released under the GNU GPL. This means that anyone interested in AI can download both an interpreter and an initial knowledge base and quickly start building their own chatbot.

Dr Wallace continues to develop Alice and the bot continues to win prizes and place highly in competitions such as the Chatterbox Challenge.



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