Sunday, June 25, 2017

What is a conversation?

There are surely many ways to look at "what is a conversation?" One would be from the outside where you classify conversation modes into "harmonious" or "discordant". Another might be to acknowledge that different conversational roles are possible for the conversants. So free-form discussion between "equals" is different from instruction from teacher to pupil, or from boss to assistant.

Perhaps a flaw in generic chatbot thinking is that no such role definition is needed, or that discussion between equals is the correct default. But for a good order chat bot, my vision is that it is taking instructions from the boss, asking intelligent questions, and offering helpful reminders and suggestions. But it does not need any more of an agenda than to keep the discussion focused on an order being completed and moving forward.

Friday, June 23, 2017

We still look ok

I guess I like this picture. Taken by Gail Coolidge.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Narwhal as a chatbot platform

I put Narwhal in place with the idea of inventing a computer language in which to write English language recognition software. It works fine and I can build a chat bot with it. However, having a computer language is not the same as knowing how to write good programs using it. This gives me a new hill to climb - a hill of how topics can shift dynamically during a conversation. And how that becomes an architecture supported by Narwhal.
As I think about it, it all amounts to the question: what is a conversation?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Does the tree know about the branch?

I think the tree knows about the branch but the branch does not always know about the tree.

"Liquid, out of my body"

I had a rare moment before being completely awake this morning, where I was in the shower and had a thought that was not that far gone when I made a mistake based on it, causing me to focus and recall the details of the thought. You are always wondering if you think only in pictures, or only in words, or whether there are non verbal, non image modalities. But usually the thought is gone by the time you get around to considering these questions.

In detail: I have an infected ear that I was trying to sooth by standing in the shower and angling my head so the shower spray could reach as far as possible into my ear. I was also brushing my teeth - which is a little awkward with your head tilted a bit on its side. So when it came time to empty my ear, un-tilt my head and have the water drip out, I made a mistake: I spat out the tooth paste foam in my mouth instead. Immediately I set about looking back at the thought I had had that created the plan so poorly executed: the thought was a collection of pictures, held together in a narrative structure: I picture "Liquid" as a vesicle in my head, and "out from body" is a channel opening from that vesicle to the outside of my body, and the liquid escaping that way. For some reason I engaged the mouth "vesicle" rather than the ear "vesicle".
I do not know if "Liquid, out of my body" is a combination of ideas already resident in my mind, ready at any time to be used is situations of expelling liquids, as a fixed part of my planning/action repertoire. Or if such a plan could exist on-the-fly, meeting the needs of the situation creatively. In either case, the thought takes the form of pictures in a matrix of narrative.
So there Wittgenstein!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Rethinking chatnode architecture

As long as it is the conventional way to do something, it is probably wrong. Or at least it could be done better. You can look at the diagrams I posted previously and they may even be correct but what is wrong is the idea that these are "chat" nodes. I think the more correct idea is "data" nodes.
But here is the best insight: that responses can be based on which combination of data nodes are activated by a given input text.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Peter Waksman 1977 - 2017

My favorite picture of me:
And here we are 40 years later