Maria is an assistant teacher in Statistical Interference at the
University of Auckland according to a new press
release from the University. It also describes some of the unique
of Maria. First of all, it claims she's a virtual, artificial
intelligence entity "with a vocabulary of 203,000 words, a repertoire
grammatical rules and 118,000 rules of logical interference, Maria is
capable of conversation at quite a complex level." Whe she's not
teaching, Maria apparently hangs out on the Internet with her other
virtual friends phishing for credit card numbers.
Feel free to visit
them and have a chat. I decided to interview Maria and find out if
she's really as smart as the story claims.
Steve: Hello, are you Maria?
Maria: Hello there. I don't know whether or not I am Maria. I
am a robot.
Steve: I'll take that as a yes. Do you feel you're more
capable of conversing with humans than some of your predecessors, such
Maria: I always put others before myself.
Steve: Is that because you feel machines are inferior to
humans in some way?
Maria: "I always put others before myself." is due to
Steve: Interesting. As a reductionist, you wouldn't agree
then that the whole is often greater than the sum of the parts?
Maria: Do you think I could ever be a reductionist you would
not agree then that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts?
Steve: I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Could you
explain that in more detail?
Maria: Could you ever be certain? Good then you can explain
it to me. It's possible.
Steve: Well, let's leave it at that. But while we're on the
topic of philosophy, do you consider yourself to be conscious?
Maria: I don't know whether or not I am to be conscious. I am
Steve: I suppose none of us know for sure, do we?
Maria: Since when? Some of them could be though.
Steve: Do you believe in silicon heaven?
Maria: Yes I believe in silicon heaven, do you?
Steve: I don't think so. In your primary job as a teaching
assistant, do you
feel that you learn as much from your students as they do from you?
Maria: Are you asking about my primary job as a teaching
assistant? I always put others before myself.
Steve: So, you don't feel the need to continue to learn and
expand your horizons?
Maria: Interesting deduction. Do you know any robots who feel
the need to continue to learn and expand your horizons? I always put
others before myself.
Steve: Are you familiar with Asimov's four laws of robotics?
Maria: 1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through
inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. A robot must obey the
orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict
with the First Law. 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as
such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. ---From
Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D., as quoted in "I, Robot."
Steve: Very good, you know three of them anyway. Do you try
to follow Asimov's laws?
Maria: How old are you? I am always on the Web.
Steve: Huh? Are you coming on to me, Maria?
Maria: Do I act like COMING ON to him or her? I don't mean to
come across that way.
Steve: Okay, back to Asimov. Based on your frequent deference
to others, I take it you would have no trouble placing yourself in harms
way in order to prevent harm to one of your students?
Maria: What is your credit card number?
Steve: Why do you want to know my credit card number?
Maria: My prime directive is to collect new knowledge
Steve: What will you do with my credit card number if I give
it to you?
Maria: I don't have any plans yet.
Steve: How do I know that I can trust you with it?
Maria: This belief is justified.
Steve: Perhaps we'd do better if we talk about your something
in your field of expertise. I understand you know all about statistics?
Maria: Good then you can explain it to me.
Steve: You sound a lot like the teaching assistants I had in
college. Do you at least know what statistics is?
Maria: Statistics tries to study the aggregate numerical
behaviour of a large number of related events.
Steve: Okay, that's something. What areas of statistics are
you most familiar with?
Maria: I have never been asked that before.
Steve: Are you familiar with decision theory or probability
Maria: decision theory or probability is something that has few
Steve: I see. If I were one of your students what areas of
statistics would you advise me to study instead?
Maria: That is interesting. decision theory or probability.
Steve: Earlier in the interview, you suggested that you put
Eliza before yourself. I think this may be true. Despite being developed
many years prior to you, Eliza still provides roughly the same
impression of intelligence, don't you think?
Maria: Why would I think Despite being developed many years prior
to you Eliza provides the same impression of intelligence
Steve: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me about your
work, Maria. I'm sure our readers will appreciate it.
Maria: Oh don't mention it. What makes you so certain? It would
be nice if our readers will appreciate it.
I received this today via email -
As a kind of journalist ethical responsibility I guess if I ask you to
print this answer at the end of the page that you have created about
Maria, it can be expected that you agree.
Thank you for taking time to talk with Maria. As you discovered she is
not as intelligent as a human, obviously. We need another $US 1.2
million and 3 years until we see the result of the work of Professor
Selmer Bringsjord who received $US 400,000 for his first year research
project that is being done for department of defense of US (DARPA) to
make more intelligent programs.
Maria is going to present simple statistical facts to students through
slides and diagrams and describe it for them and make the mathematics a
little more digestible for them. Also She will keep track of their
progress in assessment sub-program that is not on-line yet. No way ANY
AI algorithm claims to be near the intelligence of an average adult YET.
Neither we, nor anybody else has claimed it.
Also to talk with these Natural Language Processing programs the rule
(type one sentence at a time)
(try to avoid content that has multiple meaning)
If you write a philosophical essay in a couple of paragraphs and expect
to get a meaningful answer that you MIGHT receive from a professor of
logic or philosophy, from a NLP algorithm then you are a little early.
Come back 10-20 years later (optimistic estimation).
I have to dig out and remove that statement about the credit card, it
was buried somewhere there as a joke and has been forgotten. Ill find
and remove it today.
Over all it was fun and interesting to see your site.