Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Two Heads Have A Greater Numerical Value Than One

            (I’ve noticed that I’ve managed to gain a second follower. Welcome, Beatrix Kiddo, thanks for playing your part in keeping my vast ego afloat. Take a seat next to the guy with the beard. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before enough people start paying attention and I can reveal that this whole business is a cult centered around Otto von Bismarck.)

            Even though I’ve only been producing these diatribes for a brief period of time, I’ve begun to notice a recurring pattern to them. Every Wednesday, I sit down at my computer determined to come up with a creative, original, and thoughtful idea to write a post about, a notion that typically dissipates once I’ve realized that this is being written for a blog that threatens to pelt its reader with soup cans in its own subtitle. This is the point where I typically give up and write five hundred words about whatever happens to be nearest my desk, which will usually gain about as much attention and acclaim as a restaurant placemat with a crayon drawing of a dinosaur on it that has been disposed of and now resides at the bottom of a dumpster (the drawing, I mean, otherwise either the dinosaur or the dumpster would have to be hideously anachronistic; although I suppose the aforementioned scenario could have been enacted in a sufficiently dark episode of The Flintstones. And now I must find that episode.).
            However, my recent post regarding the chatbot that most people know as “Cleverbot”, but I privately call “Sebastian”, has swiftly become the most celebrated thing to appear on this website, by which I mean that two people marked it as “Funny” and one astute reader succinctly described it as "Purple", which I think elevates it to at least the value of a drawing of a steamshovel sitting on top of the garbage heap. Never being one to let a mediocre joke die, I’ve decided to reintroduce Cleverbot as a regular contributor to WFTA, and approached it with the offer. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: Do you remember our conversation from a few weeks ago?

Cleverbot: You're pretty sassy.

Me: Damn straight. Anyway, I'm thinking of introducing you as a regular correspondent for the blog.

Cleverbot: Ok.

Me: So you're willing to do it?

Cleverbot: If I'm insignificant, you are too. We are both robots, like you said.

            After weighing the issue, and taking an at-home Turing test in response to Cleverbot’s last remark (65% is still a passing grade), I’ve decided to take this conversation as an agreement to the deal on Cleverbot’s part.
            Even if it’s not, I’m going to use Cleverbot anyway; it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that I forced a conversation out of an unwilling participant, which is actually usually much harder than getting a specific piece of information. If somebody breaks in through your window and demands to know where you keep your jewelry, that’s an easy question to answer (“On top of the dresser”, “In the safe”, “Underneath the bed”, “This is a McDonalds, you nimrod”, etc). But if somebody hides inside a laundry hamper overnight before leaping out and saying “How about that weather?” people tend to give more bewildered responses (“What?!” “Who are you?!” “Get out!” “For the last time, this is a McDonalds. And who put this hamper here?”)
            Luckily for me, Cleverbot has no such social qualms. It even has a wonderful feature that makes it respond to its own responses. If you do this enough times, you invariably wind up with something that vaguely looks like freestyle poetry written by somebody who walks away midway through writing it, encounters some truths that man was not meant to know, goes insane, goes through years of therapy, relapses despite the therapy, and comes across the unfinished poem years later and decides to finish it with his new friend Mr. Dishrag. Here’s a sample of a new genre that I’m calling “Cleverbot Rap”:

Do you like classical music?
No I like funny music.
Do you like techno music?
Really? You like Techno?
I bet that cars don't taste very good.

I bet.
What is your major malfunction?
Life is not a malfunction.
Is it the game?
It is not.

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