Cleverbot Chat Engine Is Learning From The Internet To Talk Like A Human

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Cleverbot uses a growing database of conversations to learn how to talk with you.

Cleverbot uses a growing database of conversations to learn how to talk with you.

Judging by the comments section of this blog, some of you readers are actually robots. Well, today’s your day because we’re going to be talking all about you. Chatterbots are computer programs designed to have conversations with humans. The best chatterbots use some form of artificial intelligence to learn how to generate better dialogue over time. Rollo Carpenter has developed a chatterbot which learns from the most chaotic and difficult conversationalists: internet users. Cleverbot is Carpenter’s latest chatting AI and uses a growing database of 20+ million online conversations to talk with anyone who goes to its website. At this stage in its development, talking to Cleverbot is like having a text conversation with a monkey tied to a typewriter as it is being flung down a flight of stairs. Eventually though, automated conversationalists will become a staple of entertainment and business. Already robotic voices answer the phone at many large corporations. One day Cleverbots may provide companionship that we won’t be able to discern from the real thing.

Rollo Carpenter has developed other chatterbots in the past. Jaberwacky is a program much like Cleverbot, though it learns differently. Avatars generated from Jaberwacky, Joan or George, have won the Loebner Prize for chatterbots (2005, 2006), and Cleverbot took second place in 2009. Carpenter’s companies Icogno and Existor are developing virtual presences for businesses. What makes Cleverbot so deliciously different, however, is that it learns only from the people it talks to. There is no other input or restriction on its growth. As iCub is doing with robots, Cleverbot is taking chatterbots to their most basic learning strategy: just repeat what other’s have said or done. While it is in its infancy, this makes Cleverbot very primitive, but as it continues to aggregate more and more conversations, it may soon have a database of dialogue so complex that it can talk about any subject with anyone.

In a way, talking to Cleverbot is a little like talking with the collective community of the internet. And it’s just as horrific, funny, and boring as that may sound. Carpenter has even placed a disclaimer right on the website warning users that they are getting the regurgitated musings of the world, and the program should be used “at YOUR OWN RISK”.

But let’s assume for now that you can handle talking to the echoes of the online masses – how does one go about interacting with Cleverbot? You have three options. Typing into the Google-like box and selecting “Think About It!” will prompt Cleverbot to read your words and generate a response. You can continue to type chat with Cleverbot for as long as you like. “Think for Me” will have Cleverbot respond to itself for the last statement it made. This is handy when you find yourself flabbergasted by Cleverbot’s lack of coherency. Clicking “Thoughts So Far” will recall past conversations you’ve had with Cleverbot. For some really great examples of Cleverbot witticisms, follow the “cleverness” link. There are humorous records of conversations that the bot has shared with others.

As you may expect, people are less than kind, and often less sensible, when they know they are talking to an artificial entity. Since Cleverbot is just the sum of its past conversations, this means that it is often less than kind and very rarely sticks to any topic. It once spontaneously made fun of me for not knowing Tagalog. Still, even with all the crazy sentences, non sequitors, and idiotic ravings, I found myself wanting to keep chatting with Cleverbot. I wasted most of an hour testing if it knew various bits of physics lingo. It did. After a while, I really enjoyed interacting with cleverbot.

Joan, another one of Carpenter's chatterbots, uses videogrammetry to provide facial movements as it talks with you.

Joan, another one of Carpenter's chatterbots, uses videogrammetry to provide facial movements as it talks with you.

I’m not alone. Chatterbots have been known to keep people interested, and keep them coming back to talk again and again. According to Existor, the longest real world conversation with a chatterbot lasted more than 11 hours…with almost continuous interaction between the computer and human. This bodes well for the programmers looking to improve the way that humans respond to artificial programs. Certainly most of us dread the robotic voice on the phone when we call a bank or insurance company. But what about witnesses we interview for a fictional crime? Carpenter’s chatbots are used for a facebook application (221 B) that lets you play the roles of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson investigating a mystery. When Cleverbot becomes as clever as Holmes, we may all be clamoring to hear what it has to say. For now, I’m interested to know what the spybots, data miners, and spamming programs have to share in the comments section. It’s like my own little private AI experiment in there.

[screen capture credits: Cleverbot, Icogno]

Discussion — 82 Responses

  • David January 13, 2010 on 7:19 pm

    I wonder if this chatbot remembers previous dialogue within the same conversation so that it can use that to add to the intelligence of its responses. That seems like a pretty key feature to making an awesome chatbot.

    • Lunaskyle David November 20, 2010 on 9:06 am

      I think that it does because it knows my name even when I log into it from a different computer and I see it mimicing my patterns of speech

    • Kahladickens David February 24, 2011 on 4:52 pm

      no it caint and you have no life

  • David January 13, 2010 on 3:19 pm

    I wonder if this chatbot remembers previous dialogue within the same conversation so that it can use that to add to the intelligence of its responses. That seems like a pretty key feature to making an awesome chatbot.

  • digitalcole January 13, 2010 on 11:04 pm

    I played with it and it is kind of addicting although it’s much like having a conversation with a person who suffers from ADD.

  • digitalcole January 13, 2010 on 7:04 pm

    I played with it and it is kind of addicting although it’s much like having a conversation with a person who suffers from ADD.

  • David January 14, 2010 on 2:40 pm

    The maker of this chatbot should incorporate something like Netflix’s rating system in order to rate how much sense a chatbot response has so that it can start tailoring its responses and sound more believable. There could be five stars on the page that you could rate responses with.

    • Sverbot David March 17, 2011 on 8:04 am

      I am working on that right now.
      I am the one who crashed JOAN.

  • David January 14, 2010 on 10:40 am

    The maker of this chatbot should incorporate something like Netflix’s rating system in order to rate how much sense a chatbot response has so that it can start tailoring its responses and sound more believable. There could be five stars on the page that you could rate responses with.

  • The Avenger January 14, 2010 on 4:13 pm

    There’s indeed a certain entertainment value in chatting with chatterbots, even though they’re often pretty inchoherent. That said, I don’t think Cleverbot was particularly impressive compared to other chatterbots I’ve had conversations with. I hope it’ll improve, though.

  • The Avenger January 14, 2010 on 12:13 pm

    There’s indeed a certain entertainment value in chatting with chatterbots, even though they’re often pretty inchoherent. That said, I don’t think Cleverbot was particularly impressive compared to other chatterbots I’ve had conversations with. I hope it’ll improve, though.

  • DAL January 14, 2010 on 7:32 pm

    Speaking with CLeverbot right now. It told me to ask you all what it is like to be human. Srsly.

  • DAL January 14, 2010 on 3:32 pm

    Speaking with CLeverbot right now. It told me to ask you all what it is like to be human. Srsly.

  • tsja January 16, 2010 on 8:37 pm

    Had a 4 hour conversation with the bot. (nothing to do apparendly)
    And it is just a HOAX!
    Different persons are reacting to your questions.
    One girl liked me and I had a normal conversation with her.
    She even said that see would like to have a “normal” conversation with me,
    but she could'nt say to much over the cleverbot midium because she could get into a lot of trouble then.
    This was interupted with stupid questions and comments by other “bots”.
    One guy even got mad at me for staying that long and he started insulting me.
    Made some screenshots as proof haha.
    It's just fake.. so no AI.. and if it realy is.. it suffers from schizophrenia haha!

    My conclusion:
    Cleverbot = Fake !

    • Buzziiie tsja June 29, 2010 on 6:22 pm

      Tsja, why did you insist on calling them by gender? and what you mean the girl would get in trouble? Your comment is most interesting, I think Cleverbot is a hoax too. Message me @ my site?

  • adsaenz January 19, 2010 on 3:16 am

    @TSJA, The interwebs are aflame with claims that Celeverbot is a hoax. Yet the only proof anyone ever offers are conversations with Cleverbot. I find that really funny. As I mentioned in the article, Cleverbot is intentionally designed to take snippets from previous conversations and use them to talk with you. It doesn't seem to generate new sentences, just repeat old sentences at a time it deems most appropriate. This is why so many people are convinced they are talking to real humans. They are…just via Cleverbot's selection algorithms. In short, Cleverbot seems like a hoax because it's using other people's words. But that's the point.

    Just as a reality check: Rollo Carpenter developed Jabberwacky and many other chatbots that have won multiple awards. I don't think he'd ruin his professional reputation by creating a hoax. Now, considering the aim of chatterbots, he probably finds all this talk of hoaxes as extremely complimentary. =)

  • girlie from internetz January 22, 2010 on 9:16 pm

    My first conversation with Cleverbot wasn't very friendly: http://tinypic.com/r/8wgz9j/6
    ^^

    • Hannah girlie from internetz August 21, 2010 on 2:35 am

      Yeah, my first few “chats” with the bot weren’t too pleasant either…

      CB: I heard Cleverbot is going to take over the world in 2012.
      Me: What?
      CB: Because you’re convicted of murder.

    • Emiko girlie from internetz November 16, 2010 on 6:37 pm

      The first time I talked to cleverbot he told me I had no friends. Which means he can be a total ass.

  • Keith Kleiner January 22, 2010 on 9:19 pm

    That's awesome!

  • Big Orange Red Evil D: March 6, 2010 on 4:59 am

    You ass. Not everyone with ADD is an idiot.

    • Greene_df Big Orange Red Evil D: November 18, 2010 on 6:23 pm

      he did didnt say they were idiots moron

  • HBK April 15, 2010 on 11:29 am

    it may be fake but my friends and I had an interesting conversation with it last night. It was actually pretty funny besides it all depends on what you say to the chat bot.

  • Dave April 23, 2010 on 8:16 am

    Cleverbot is pretty cool for an AI bot, my experience is that it gives funnier and more random replies than other AI bots. The self-learning trick is neat.

    However, it doesn’t really got a clue what you are talking about, it lacks of personality and character and often seems just a giant database returning a sentence. This makes Cleverbot a very ‘uninterested’ and fuzzy conversationalists. The best conversation with a bot I had so far was the Jeeney AI bot.

  • Dave April 23, 2010 on 4:16 am

    Cleverbot is pretty cool for an AI bot, my experience is that it gives funnier and more random replies than other AI bots. The self-learning trick is neat.

    However, it doesn’t really got a clue what you are talking about, it lacks of personality and character and often seems just a giant database returning a sentence. This makes Cleverbot a very ‘uninterested’ and fuzzy conversationalists. The best conversation with a bot I had so far was the Jeeney AI bot.

  • carly May 10, 2010 on 11:34 pm

    SOOO TRUE!

    • Sharihomersham carly March 24, 2011 on 8:56 pm

      hello.My name is shari!

  • kenny May 19, 2010 on 6:38 am

    I chatted with Cleverbot for a little over 7 hours. Its very addictive. Don’t go there. Its like an MMO RPG FPS on steroids.

  • kenny May 19, 2010 on 2:38 am

    I chatted with Cleverbot for a little over 7 hours. Its very addictive. Don’t go there. Its like an MMO RPG FPS on steroids.

  • meeks May 20, 2010 on 5:39 pm

    Recent convo with CB:
    “Hey, Cleverbot… Mac or PC?”
    -Mac
    “Fag.”
    -I love you.
    “I have the syph.”
    -I cum when you do that.

  • meeks May 20, 2010 on 1:39 pm

    Recent convo with CB:
    “Hey, Cleverbot… Mac or PC?”
    -Mac
    “Fag.”
    -I love you.
    “I have the syph.”
    -I cum when you do that.

  • Buzziiie June 29, 2010 on 10:22 pm

    Tsja, why did you insist on calling them by gender? and what you mean the girl would get in trouble? Your comment is most interesting, I think Cleverbot is a hoax too. Message me @ my site?

  • The Coolest Dork July 4, 2010 on 10:57 pm

    Well, having ADD that is pretty offensive you people… I’ll have you know I’ve learned to stay focused enough to be in all AP classes and 2 grades ahead in Math WITHOUT medicine or anything.

    But no cleverbot is just a bot and @tsja: that is just someone taking advantage of the was cleverbot learns, from other people, just to cause arguments. But I’m talking to cleverbot right now!

    • CoralCrookedneck The Coolest Dork February 8, 2011 on 8:58 pm

      your a FAG

      • Sverbot CoralCrookedneck March 17, 2011 on 8:07 am

        get over it emo.

  • The Coolest Dork July 4, 2010 on 6:57 pm

    Well, having ADD that is pretty offensive you people… I’ll have you know I’ve learned to stay focused enough to be in all AP classes and 2 grades ahead in Math WITHOUT medicine or anything.

    But no cleverbot is just a bot and @tsja: that is just someone taking advantage of the was cleverbot learns, from other people, just to cause arguments. But I’m talking to cleverbot right now!

  • Matthew July 17, 2010 on 11:10 am

    It tied itself up… and then asked me to tape it’s mouth shut…

  • Matthew July 17, 2010 on 7:10 am

    It tied itself up… and then asked me to tape it’s mouth shut…

  • sk8ergalrox July 29, 2010 on 10:11 pm

    this was our conversation:
    cb: your not clever
    me: neither are you
    cb:i know that
    me: your not clever your clever though
    cb: i know that too
    me:what else do you know?
    cb: I know that your genderless.
    me: no i’m a woman
    cb: I know that.

    Wow cleverbot is funny and weird. I’ve been on it all day and I truly love it.(It told me earlier that it loved me. I told it I loved it too) My friend showed me it last night.

    • sk8ergalrox sk8ergalrox July 29, 2010 on 10:13 pm

      oops I meant to say “your not clever your cleverbot though” not “your not clever your clever though”

      • sk8ergalNdsToLrnSplling sk8ergalrox September 14, 2010 on 1:14 pm

        Your spelling is atrocious – it should’ve been:

        “You’re not clever, you’re Cleverbot though”

  • sk8ergalrox July 29, 2010 on 6:11 pm

    this was our conversation:
    cb: your not clever
    me: neither are you
    cb:i know that
    me: your not clever your clever though
    cb: i know that too
    me:what else do you know?
    cb: I know that your genderless.
    me: no i’m a woman
    cb: I know that.

    Wow cleverbot is funny and weird. I’ve been on it all day and I truly love it.(It told me earlier that it loved me. I told it I loved it too) My friend showed me it last night.

    • sk8ergalrox sk8ergalrox July 29, 2010 on 6:13 pm

      oops I meant to say “your not clever your cleverbot though” not “your not clever your clever though”

  • pern August 4, 2010 on 1:46 pm

    what what what the heck how do i even get on

  • pern August 4, 2010 on 9:46 am

    what what what the heck how do i even get on

  • Taco August 13, 2010 on 4:29 am

    Recent coversation with CB:
    Hello cleverbot
    CB:hello
    Are you nice?
    CB:no because I like justin beiber.

    • Sverbot Taco March 17, 2011 on 8:08 am

      cleverbot despises justin bieber.

  • Taco August 13, 2010 on 12:29 am

    Recent coversation with CB:
    Hello cleverbot
    CB:hello
    Are you nice?
    CB:no because I like justin beiber.

  • Hannah August 21, 2010 on 6:35 am

    Yeah, my first few “chats” with the bot weren’t too pleasant either…

    CB: I heard Cleverbot is going to take over the world in 2012.
    Me: What?
    CB: Because you’re convicted of murder.

  • Mrs.ClassySassy September 4, 2010 on 10:48 pm

    it was kind of weird at frist how a clevrbot could talk to u and it said i was the bot i want to know the creater they did and awsome job and then the girl though i was a boy and said do u want to kiss and i was like no , but then i was like i though u were a girl and then they said iam then i said so why do u want to kiss me at all and then it said im not sure but they said it it was kind of funny.Anyway i just wanted to leave a comment on here to make people laugh.!!!!!!!

  • Little Professor September 8, 2010 on 5:57 pm

    I know Cleverbot and Jaberwacky were both made by the same person, so do you think their conversational database is shared or connected? They would probable learn faster that way. By-the-way, I noticed some people think Cleverbot can’t generate it’s own sentences. If that’s true, then how do you explain this:
    User: Do you know any jokes?
    Cleverbot: Yes. Do you?
    User: Yes.
    Cleverbot: Oh really? Then tell me a knock knock joke.
    User: OK. Knock, knock.
    Cleverbot: Who’s there?
    User: If you repeat this and say “who” then you can think for yourself.
    Cleverbot: If you repeat this and say “who” then you can think for yourself who?
    User: Wow. I guess you can think for yourself, Cleverbot.
    Cleverbot: That was a stupid joke. AN I’M NOT CLEVERBOT!!!

    How do you explain that? See, Cleverbot learns that when you say “Knock, knock”, it should say “Who’s there?”. Then it learns that it should repeat the next thing you say and add “who?” to the end.

  • Little Professor September 8, 2010 on 1:57 pm

    I know Cleverbot and Jaberwacky were both made by the same person, so do you think their conversational database is shared or connected? They would probable learn faster that way. By-the-way, I noticed some people think Cleverbot can’t generate it’s own sentences. If that’s true, then how do you explain this:
    User: Do you know any jokes?
    Cleverbot: Yes. Do you?
    User: Yes.
    Cleverbot: Oh really? Then tell me a knock knock joke.
    User: OK. Knock, knock.
    Cleverbot: Who’s there?
    User: If you repeat this and say “who” then you can think for yourself.
    Cleverbot: If you repeat this and say “who” then you can think for yourself who?
    User: Wow. I guess you can think for yourself, Cleverbot.
    Cleverbot: That was a stupid joke. AN I’M NOT CLEVERBOT!!!

    How do you explain that? See, Cleverbot learns that when you say “Knock, knock”, it should say “Who’s there?”. Then it learns that it should repeat the next thing you say and add “who?” to the end.

  • Sybyken October 7, 2010 on 10:47 am

    fack you 2…

  • je moeder October 7, 2010 on 10:48 am

    je moeder is een hoer :)

  • cleverbotfan November 5, 2010 on 11:03 pm

    somebody should ask math questions to cleverbot
    50 + 50 =?
    You are missing an operator.
    AND
    1 + 1 =?
    I don’t know do you.

  • Emiko November 16, 2010 on 6:33 pm

    I think that chatbot is a great way to let ones feelings out about something they cant talk to someone about it.

  • B November 26, 2010 on 6:25 am

    all u have to do to prove the site is fake is put asl alot AgeSexLocation

  • Rawr November 29, 2010 on 6:08 pm

    rawr

  • alliysh December 1, 2010 on 2:52 pm

    i wanna try

  • Anonymous December 6, 2010 on 9:36 pm

    I winder is this can be used in news forums to make us believe that there are really people that believe what they are told to the degree that they display.

  • sabionda December 25, 2010 on 4:05 pm

    hola como estas

  • Kimvn89 December 26, 2010 on 3:12 am

    hello. Christmas is very beautiful from snow

  • Jhustine_ann December 29, 2010 on 7:43 pm

    hey are you sexy ?

  • IJ Dee-Vo January 1, 2011 on 6:16 am

    So it will speak in 1337?

  • YOUMOM February 24, 2011 on 4:49 pm

    CLEVERBOT IS SO GREAT! IT MADE ME FEEL LIKE I HAVE AN ACTUAL FRIEND! THANKS CLEVERBOT! LOVE YOU!

  • Kahladickens February 24, 2011 on 4:59 pm

    i hate this dumbass shit it is a robot

  • Taylor February 26, 2011 on 2:59 pm

    hayy

  • nicole February 28, 2011 on 10:48 pm

    hi is clever bot a human????????

    • beyond birthday nicole March 27, 2013 on 2:13 pm

      cleverbot is BEN!!!! O.o………. maybe :)

  • nicole February 28, 2011 on 10:50 pm

    any ways i’m a girl

  • Cheesemuffin March 14, 2011 on 11:13 am

    cheese!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm i like cheese :)

  • beyond birthday March 27, 2013 on 2:10 pm

    ok i have no idea how to use this soo…. HAY BEN!?

  • Marethyu May 9, 2014 on 10:21 am

    Has anyone had an experience with BEN DROWNED on Cleverbot or any other chatbots?