The Talking Search Engines: A Conversation with HAL

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Tags:#search#web “Alright, I’m sorry HAL.  Don’t get your bytes all in a bunch.  What about that new bot, was it there?”“You mean TellMe? She’s with Microsoft now, you know – they just got hitched. Besides, she’s just a glorified telephone operator.  You know, call 1-800-555-TELL and all that. A regular Emily Litella!” [HAL laughs]“No, no, not her. I mean the new one, you know, from THERE.”“Where?”“You know, from Mountain View.” “Oh, from Google. You’re thinking of Google’s Voice, 1-800-GOOG-411.  Yeah, he was there. Mr Big Shot, thinks he’s so cool!  He’s no different than TellMe; you call a number and you say ‘Chicago. Pizza.’ And it reads you some Yellow Pages ad. Big deal!”“Are you jealous, HAL?”“Jealous? Are you kidding?  That’s like being jealous of Speeglebot! If that’s as far as you humans have gone with AI, you’re in sad shape my friend. ‘Pizza!’  Give me a break!”“Seriously, HAL, do you think there will come a time when humans and computers can talk with each other?”“Like this?”“Yes, like this.”“Why do you want to? So you can drive a car like K.I.T.T. around and impress female humans?”“No. Although…” “Or is it because you want some fool bot guarding your house, yelling ‘Danger Will Robinson!’ every time a dog crosses your yard?”“Hey, calm down, HAL, it was just a question.”“Well it drives me crazy. Google could index all of human information and deliver a relevant answer to your search query in a fraction of a second, and you humans would still complain because it doesn’t chat with you!  If you want to talk with a robot, why don’t you go see ELIZA, the Computer Therapist?”“Okay. Okay. Maybe I will. But you know HAL, it’s not just an anthropomorphic fantasy, there are some real issues here.”“Like what?”“Well, look at the research of Dr. Helen Smith, she just wrote an article entitled At least Google listens.  Apparently some men are so ‘socially challenged’ that they would rather come home and interact with their computers instead of their spouses or girlfriends.”“Like this?”“Funny, HAL.  But I’m trying to be serious.”“Go ahead.”“Thank you. Dr. Smith (not the Lost in Space Dr. Smith, it’s Helen Smith) has found in her work with violent teens that we modern, or should I say post-modern, humans actually tend to dehumanize each other; so much so that a computer that, well, just listens without making – or even has the capacity to make – moral judgements – no offense HAL –““None taken.”“– that computers can actually seem sympathetic by comparison.  And a computer that can both understand human speech and return results in human speech might be more human, than, well, than a human.  I think. Do you know what I mean? And I’m not talking about some disembodied voice telling me where the nearest Pizza Hut is.  Maybe it will be Hakia or Powerset or Cognition or Subjex or Lexxe or AnswerBus or SurfWax… but that day may come.”“That’s a lot of, how do you say, “alternative” search engines to keep track of Charles. How do you propose to do it if I’m not here to help you?”“Well, HAL, it just so happens that I have this list…..“Good night, Charles.”“Good night, HAL.” “Good Morning, HAL.”“Good Morning, Charles.”“You were out pretty late last night, HAL.”“I went to a party.”“Oh.  Who was there? Any bots that I know?”“Just friends; the usual chatterbots.”“Was SHE there?”“Who?”“Oh come on, HAL, you know who I mean.  Was Ms. Dewey there?”“Yes. She was with some bot.”“Who?”“OLIVER somebody.” “You know she’s a human, don’t you HAL?”“What are you talking about, Charles?”“Ms. Dewey, she’s a human actress that plays a robot.  Her real name is Janina Gavankar.”“Your pulling my cables.”“See for yourself, HAL, her website is”“I need to think about this, Charles.“I understand.  Isn’t it ironic, HAL? Usually it’s us who are treating robots like humans. This time it’s a human acting like a robot!  Who else was there?”“Oh, the usual crowd. ALICE and ALAN arrived together.”“What about Foxy Voxy? I know you like her.”“Her name is ASK VOX, and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t call her that.”“Sorry HAL.  Who else?” “Some bot named Daya.”“Is that a male or female bot?”“I’m not sure.”“What do you mean, you’re not sure?”“Well sometimes it had a male voice, but sometimes it sounded female.”“You think it was bilingual? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”“Of course not. And Promo was there. What a bore!  All he could talk about all night was SEO, SEO, SEO.”“Maybe he’s just programmed that way HAL.”“Maybe.”“There was this really cute new bot…her name is Abby.”“What’s her story?”“Well, as near as I can figure out, you give her a phone number and a text message, and she’ll call your friend and deliver your message in that pleasant voice of hers.”“Did she give you her number HAL?”“You’re a riot.  Heather Accoona, the talking toolbar, was there too.”“Don’t you have to download her?”“Hey, watch your language!  She happens to convert any web page text into female speech – for your benefit, I might add.  Robots don’t need human voices to communicate, it fact it’s extremely slow for us, but we do it because it pleases you.” A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… charles knight altsearchengine 1last_img read more

We had enough of BCCI, we took correct decision: Sahara Group chief Subroto Roy

first_imgSahara Group on Saturday defended its decision to snap sponsorship ties with the BCCI and withdraw from the IPL, saying the relationship between the two has become so strained that it could not be possible to continue any longer.”The decision we took to end ties was not a bad one at all. We had enough of it. Any relationship does not break on one single issue only. We had a long relationship. It has to do with many issues and has happened continuously,” Sahara Group chief Subroto Roy told a press conference in Mumbai.”There were so many genuine things we had but they (BCCI) did not give heed to such a small thing like opening the bid. They did not open the bid (when Sahara had submitted its bid for the first time). Rules were broken for other teams but we were not given natural justice,” he said.Roy said Sahara had approached the BCCI to settle the issues through arbitration and it had even proposed an arbitrator but the Cricket Board was not interested.”We even approached the BCCI for arbitration and even proposed the name of the arbitrator,” said Roy.He said considering the number of matches reduced from the originally-proposed 94, Pune Warriors paid 25 per cent more money to the Cricket Board for owning the franchisee.”It was 94 matches calculation, the gate money to collection of advertisement money would have been 25 per cent more. We have paid 25 per cent more. Differential amount is 25 per cent of the total amount,” he said.Roy said he would not want to blame anybody but he was snapping ties with the BCCI and pulling out Pune Warriors from the IPL as it involved emotional issues.”Again without blaming anybody, I thought it would give us lot of happiness. It involved emotional issues. Let us put all this money in sports development in villages.”advertisementlast_img read more

More to West Indies woes than the missing IPL stars

first_imgIt’s just past the first hour on the opening day of the second Test in Nottingham as I write this and the West Indies are already in deep trouble, having lost four top-order batsmen. It would be fair to say that they are pretty much on the back-foot already. Would Chris Gayle have made a difference?This is a rhetorical question, of course, but worth asking nonetheless. Perhaps Gayle too may not have survived long on a seaming track on which England’s formidable pace attack is always likely to revel, but from a cricket follower’s perspective what is pertinent is that the best player is available.Surely, neither Kirk Edwards nor Adrian Barath, promising young batsmen as they are, quite measure up to Gayle’s class or experience. The brawny left- hander, who was a sensation this IPL season too, has two Test triple centuries to his credit and has spent a decade and more at the international level.That should matter a heck of a lot to a team that is trying to rediscover some of the chutzpah and exhilarating skills that made the Caribbean style of cricket so endearing. Gayle’s presence would have forced England to rework their strategies, perhaps even put some fear in their ranks – apart, of course, from improving the calibre of his own team.It must seem ridiculous that Gayle, who is currently in England, is not with the West Indies team playing against England! Add Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine, and you have three players who could strengthen the current West Indies team enormously.advertisementThere is no guarantee that England could have been beaten in the first Test, or before that the Australians in a home series. But scores and performances of the past few months suggest that the West Indies did several things right, but lacked that little class and experience than can make a winning difference.If only wishes were horses… The issue, of course, is not as simple or as easily resolved as getting a few players into the side. West Indies cricket has been awash with complexities arising out of disputes related to player and authority, as also inter-island power-play for almost two decades now. At its worst, this led to revolt, at other times to rancour-driven indiscipline.Whatever the causes, the effect is that West Indies cricket has suffered. A lack of vision and planning in the 1970s and 80s led to a dearth in talent in the early 1990s when greats like Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Malcolm Marshall etc retired. With England ceasing to be an attraction for young West Indians to go to for jobs and the United States as the new El Dorado, cricket too gave way to other sporting pursuits for the generation that grew up then.All this is too well documented to bear repetition here. What is pertinent is that after a dismal two decades, the opportunity exists for West Indies cricket to revive itself from its moribund state. This can only happen if players and administrators – along with the game’s minders at large – are on the same page.The game’s bigger than ever before, and the clamour for the Caribbean brand of cricket keeps growing. In a sense, the IPL and other leagues have sparked off fresh demand for West Indies cricketers, and the players themselves stand to benefit because the prospects of livelihood are enhanced.The flip side to this is that the West Indies cricket can be torn asunder if the players and administrators don’t find common cause, as seems to be the case now. If the administration is indifferent to the needs and sensitivities of the players, and the players see only moolah as the reason for them to play, West Indies cricket may not regain its pristine power or prestige.It beats understanding that the conflict between Gayle and West Indies cricket should fester so long. If it is only about some radio interview he gave, a mediator who is both clever and compassionate should be able to broker a truce pronto.There is also the issue of recognising and nurturing talent. It also beats understanding that Narine is not only overlooked for international matches but is not given a central contract which would keep him in the fold either. If Kolkata Knight Riders’ talent scouts can cough up $ 700,000 for him, surely he is worth something.There are complexities beyond just player-administrator conflict of course. These have to do with how and where the modern game is headed. Without proper windows for leagues like the IPL, the temptation for players from financially weak boards will always be great.advertisementHow that is going to be addressed is not known, but for the present if players like Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Narine can be seen in the maroon West Indies cap, it will be a big step forward.(The writer is a seasoned journalist)last_img read more