It’s Very Nice to Meet You, Vira :-)

“Have you ever been to Mexico?”

Why not ask Chatterbot “Vira” (pictured at left) who recently placed 4th an international competition ( featuring 34 “bots” from around the world.

Vira is an internet-downloadable “chatterbot”, designed to simulate human intelligence and converse casually with humans when asked simple questions like, “What is 18+21+3” or “Can you give me an example of a living animal?”.

Created by Empire State College student Tom Joyce as final project for his CDL course Discrete Mathematics, Vira out-chatted 34 other English-speaking bots vying for a $1,000 cash prize.

Joyce’s work incorporates principles of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), which he refers to as “reinforced learning”, a combination of science and engineering which results in “intelligent” computer programs that can perform simple tasks like open an elevator door, interact within a video game, or have an actual speech-recognized conversation, like Vira.

“Finding ways to enjoy A.I. is important because designing it usually involves pushing the limits. Luckily building a machine that talks right back to you is an experience most find very entertaining and rewarding,” said Joyce, a New Jersey resident. “This is significant since it demonstrates that my research is going forward, and will provide a solid foundation for new and exciting innovations in the future,” he added.

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