Cleverbot is among the world’s most advanced computer conversationalists. It’s a learning algorithm that, thanks to a library of 65 million saved discussions with humans, can piece together a learned response to anything you say. (Basically, if a lot of humans answer a certain question with a certain phrase, Cleverbot will begin doing the same thing.) The result can be remarkably human. . .or just totally ridiculous.
Filmmaker Chris Wilson recently gave Cleverbot a job–to help him write a movie. You’ll see that the seemingly simplest task, like thinking up a character’s name, can be a totally foreign concept to Cleverbot one moment, while another moment, the AI becomes lucid, critiquing Wilson’s own taste with highly specific scrutiny.
This short film itself is particularly brilliant, however, as about halfway through, it shifts from a creative conversation between filmmaker and Cleverbot to a totally unadulterated cinematic presentation of the absurd, half-human script. The style actually reminds me a lot of Charlie Kaufman’s Adaptation, in which an ongoing discussion about making a movie evolves into the movie that you’re actually watching.
Just don’t laugh too hard at Cleverbot. Because in a few years, when we get this whole quantum computing thing figured out? It will be the software that asks us the easy questions–like, “divide the mass of every star in the Milky Way by its color frequency, then postulate that figure’s significance in regards to hydrogen found on regional exoplanets”–just to giggle at our ape-like grunting response.