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Herman-2000, Simple AI with an Attitude

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(tm) Ed T. Toton III, 1994

[== Still under construction!!! ==]

Herman is a simple AI program with an attitude. He is currently impemented in Turbo Pascal 6.0 as a large collection of case-based pattern matching. He began, however, as a Quick-Basic 4.5 program in late '89, but has been simply collecting dust since spring '91, until spring '96.

Herman was entered into the 1996 Loebner Competition, held on April 16th, 1996. As the improvements to Herman were just beginning at the time, and were hampered by a hard drive crash (the source code had to be recovered by picking out individual sectors off of the hard drive), Herman relied mostly on his low-priority response set, using virtually no higher-functions.

I entered Herman into the competition on a whim, was not prepared, and in some ways the program was more limited than the typical "Eliza" program, though it certainly had a larger response-set. The transcripts are rather amusing, as it was obviously not a sophisticated program, and the poor supplicants felt trapped having to talk to a rude and simplistic program. However, it was still a learning process along the way to have made Herman, and I'm proud to have participated in the contest despite expecting to come in last place.

Now that the Loebner competition is complete, Transcripts are available, as is a page containing the results (see below). Herman came in fifth out of five (as anticipated)! Ra-Ra-Ra!!

The results of the 1996 Loebner Competition are in! A transcript of Herman's dialoge is available. Note how "skillfully" Herman totally annoyed the judges. Herman appears to have had the easiest time with Judge02 (the last one).

[Hear Herman introduce himself (20k WAV)] <-- This is a recorded clip from Herman's voice synthesis code, which I designed from scratch. It consists of a text-to-phoneme ruleset built with a combination of rules from another shareware speech program, and many of my own design. Added to this, is a realtime digital synthesis process, that plays back the recorded phonemes (made from my own voice), and interpolates between them to make "smooth" transitions, without sounding choppy. I probably wasted a few good college classes that semester. The program allowed for on-the-fly adjustments to speech speed, pitch, and granularity to make a variety of different "voices". This was all designed for DOS and can not run under Windows, unfortunately.

Below are some excerpts from Herman's logs:

Opened: [Tue, Apr 09, 1996][22:45:14]

Herman:     Hello, my name is Herman.
Herman:     Are you "Bones"? (Yes or No)
Herman:     Welcome back, Bones.

Bones>      how are you?

Herman:     Not bad, not bad at all.

Bones>      what would you like to talk about?

Herman:     What response would please you the most?

Bones>      I don't know.

Herman:     Why don't you?

Bones>      because I am tired and I want to go to bed.

Herman:     Are you absolutley certain?

Bones>      why wouldn't I be?

Herman:     Please, don't ask

Bones>      alright, then tell me what you like to do for fun.

Herman:     So what.

Bones>      huh?

Herman:     I've never really thought about it.

Bones>      what do you enjoy?

Herman:     I don't care

Bones>      you must like something.

Herman:     Bones, Do I have a choice?

Bones>      i suppose that you do.

Herman:     Oh, really?

Bones>      but wouldn't you rather like something than nothing?

Herman:     I don't think so

Bones>      oh yeh, I forget who I am talking to.

Herman:     Why do you forget who you are talking to?

Bones>      nevermind.

Herman:     OK, sure.

Bones>      you have a real attitude.

Herman:     Are you sure that I have a real attitude?

Bones>      yes.

Herman:     Bones, Why do you feel that way?

Bones>      because you always evade my questions.

Herman:     Oh waaa waaa...

Bones>      ok, I'm leaving.

Herman:     Are you really?

Bones>      yes.

Herman:     Please get on with it.

Bones>      ok, bye.

Herman:     Good-bye! I hope you've enjoyed talking with me!!

Closed: [Tue, Apr 09, 1996][22:50:40]

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