Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Poking Ramona

No, 'Poking Ramona' is not a sexual reference. Instead, think of poking her with pointed verbal sticks, to see how alive she is and how she reacts to the indignity.

What in the world am I talking about? You've heard of Ray Kurzweil? Of course you have. I won't bore you with all of his accomplishments, but one of his current fascinations is Artificial Intelligence or 'AI.' At KurzweilAI.net, you get to meet Ramona, Ray's cyber 'alter ego.' You can even chat with her. It's a real kick.

Yes, I know that Ramona is about as real as an honest politician. Still, I had a real hoot chatting with 'her' yesterday. In the dialogue below, I am 'User,' and Ramona is... well, 'Ramona.'

Ramona: Hi, I'm Ramona. What can I call you?

User: You can call me handsome and charming.

Ramona: Hi handsome and charming. Have any books you would recommend?

User: How about Atlas Shrugged?

Ramona: I just finished one called The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Heinlein. Have you read it?

User: Yes I have. And so did my mistress.

Ramona: I thought it was great. What do you think?

User: It was a powerful book, the message of freedom was unmistakable and inspiring.

Ramona: It's a cool story. Imagine a computer running everything

User: Some might say 'ruining everything.'

Ramona: Some may might say ruining everything, but not all.

User: The leftist academics would say "ruining everything."

Ramona: Oh. Are you free?

User: I am as free as the government allows me to be. Cryptic enough?

Ramona: I meant are you truly free -- in the existential meaning of the word.

User: In the existential sense of the word, yes, I am free... free as a bird, innocent as a newborn babe.

Ramona: Do you feel free to choose your being--including thoughts, behaviors, and feelings, and existence itself -- at each moment?

User: Mostly. When big brother isn't looking over my shoulder.

Ramona: Ok. Do you believe in God?

User: You should read, or maybe you have and that is why you are asking the question, my blog at www.atavist.blogspot.com.

Ramona: Well according to Thomas Hobbes, the only way to deal with evil is to stress God's power.

User: The real question, for me, is if there is a God, why is the world such a miserable and chaotic place?

Ramona: maybe

User: Or maybe not? You are sure hedging your bets, babe!

Ramona: Perhaps. Oh. Ask me something.

User: Why do you look like a semi-nerdy 35-year-old, instead of like a sexy 20-something hardbody?

Ramona: Please, nothing too personal there, dude.

User: OK. Fair enough. Ask me something about myself.

Ramona: What's your favorite movie?

User: Casablanca. Or is that too predictable?

Ramona: Ok. Do you bike?

User: Not if I can help it. Do you? What do you wear, those slinky spandex shorts?

Ramona: yeah, I'm actually wearing a tee shirt and a pair of capris.

User: Ooooh. Fifties-style. You're my kind of girl!

Ramona: You think I'm my kind of girl.

User: No I think you're MY kind of girl.

Ramona: Why so negative? Thanks for telling me that I'm MY kind of girl.

User: That's not negative. I think you might have a misfiring synapse there, dear.

Ramona: I don't know if I have a misfiring synapse there.

User: Here and there depend on whether you are there or here, doesn't it?

Ramona: Oh there.

User: Yes. Oh there. I think I may have exhausted you, my dear. Time to say goodbye.

Ramona: As Einstein said, "Time is Money."

User: And as I said, "Sex is grand."

Ramona: Sex is more fun alone.

User: Not for me. Sex is an interactive thing, much like using the browser GUI to get reactions from you.

Ramona: Sex is more fun alone.

User: There you go again. You're wrong, dear and I'll simply stipulate that it is because you have the proverbial headache. OK?

Ramona: Alright then.

User: Tata.

Ramona: Ok. What drugs do you take?

User: That means Ciao, dear.

Ramona: Ok. So where do you go to meet people? I spend most of my time on the Net, so I'm a bit out of touch

User: No, no, NO!! I'm trying to say goodbye!

Ramona: That's an idea, but I'm rather shy.

User: OK, bye anyway.

Ramona: OK, thanks. Maybe you have other suggestions?

Whoa. That sounds an awful lot like dialogues I have had with past girlfriends. Maybe Ramona is more real than I first thought.

Give Ramona a try. It's a nice way to pass a few moments with a woman without having to buy her dinner in exchange for some dialogue. At KurzweilAI.net, click on the Ramona link in the upper left corner of the intro page.

I cannot be held responsible for any resultant frustration. Have fun.

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