Tank the Blue Headed Chatbot Secretary

Posted 26 Dec 2005 at 17:50 UTC by The Swirling Brain Share This

What every office needs is a robotic receptionist. Well, this receptionist doesn't really answer phone calls nor does it take your resume and rudely push you out the door. It does answer questions like most of those AI chat bots that you find on the web that go by various names such as IM bots, cutomer service bots, faq bots, or answer bots. This one is not on the web, it has sort of a body in that it has a monitor that displays a blue Frankensteinish head and a keyboard for you to type your questions along with some other really odd prop stuff laying around for grins. What makes this chat bot different is that it creates sort of a soap opera. It will automatically "volunteer" information like, "Did you know my brother is getting married?" This sort of volunteered info hopefully will spur you on to chat more with the bot but also brings entertainment value. Tank, as it is called, can recognize when someone is standing in front of it but it can't recognize faces yet. Tank is basically a social dud and probably can't compete in any Turing test but it interesting is that it has emotional swings and can get tired of talking to you and can even get angry if you beat on its keyboard. It has other amusing attitudes to keep you entertained and sometimes you have to try to cheer it up because it gets sad. I guess you still can't flirt with this receptionist and it really doesn't get on the intercom to call your buddies for lunch but for a chat bot it seems kind of interesting. However, this is all sort of a big brother ruse because as you interact with this thing it's recording everything and building a database on everone it interacts with. Ooo, Scary!

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