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Baseline Robot Responses

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Robots and computers and AI things, in films and on telly, have a set of “computery” responses to humans, such as when they don’t get what we’re going on about. History has shown that a lot of the ethos and atmosphere of this way of saying stuff has leaken into our real world technology. From the early days of “does not compute” or “warning, warning” to modern portrayals that go “I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question”, it’s all a bit shallow. As if they work in HR.

I think there should be a style baseline for gear that responds to people. I for one would welcome a bit of kit that, when it doesn’t know what’s what, says “you what?” (or if it’s in East London, which it can figure out because of technology), “you wot?”.

From the baseline response set, it could evolve more sophisticated and impressive stuff to say.

Ian Tindale, Aug 05 2015

Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy http://www.cliveban...G/THHGTTGradio9.htm
Most problems with human-machine dialogue are captured in Arthur's conversation with the Nutrimatic Drinks Dispenser (scene 4 in this link) [hippo, Aug 05 2015]


       Part of the problem, and I think the bit we have to solve first, is that computers are always emphatic and definitive in their responses. So when a computer says to you “I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question” it means it is 100% incapable of understanding the question and there is no way that given only the information currently available it can comprehend what you're on about. On the other hand if a person were to say “I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question” or “you wot?”, you might say in response “Well, what do you think I mean?” and the person would make a guess which would be right or wrong, and you could then have a conversation about that. Likewise, in searching for something a computer might say “Error: unable to find file” - you should be able to click a button to select the option “Try harder you stupid machine - I only saved it yesterday!”, but you can't because the computer's error message allows to no nuance or room for manoeuvre - it is dogmatic and would be considered arrogant were it to come from a person.
hippo, Aug 05 2015

       // it is dogmatic and would be considered arrogant were it to come from a person. //   

       Hmmm .... that explains a lot ...
8th of 7, Aug 05 2015

       'Well, I might be able to find the file if I search harder,' doesn't work because the computer should by default search as hard as computerly possible.   

       And I'd like to submit 'computerly' as my contribution to the English Language.
RayfordSteele, Aug 05 2015

       I think it would be more effective to provide the AI with a Standard Norfolk Response System. The advantage of this linguistic tool is that the user cannot be sure if the speaker has no clue at all, or is actually giving a useful answer.   

       For instance:
Human: Do you think it will rain later?
SNRS: Arr, well, 'tis a rare sheep that knows north!
Human: Uh, yes, I suppose so. And can you tell me how far I am from Norwich?
SNRS: Arr, well, s'nayz n'every which door, bain't it?
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 05 2015


       "I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that right now..."   


       // The advantage of this linguistic tool is that the user cannot be sure if the speaker has no clue at all, or is actually giving a useful answer.//   

       The Guild of Railway Station Announcers are still making a fortune every year from the royalties on that ...
8th of 7, Aug 05 2015

       I hear they've joined forces with the Guild of Aircraft Cabin Announcers, to form the Guildvanncementators Inhaircraftanon Rayelplafms.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 05 2015

       They had electrolytes in the film “Idiocracy”. More electrolytes would therefore, according to what you imply, make a person more capable of doing the same action identically over and over until it works, if ever. I hated the film “Idiocracy” the first time I saw it, but now each time I see it again I increasively perceive it as a documentary.
Ian Tindale, Aug 05 2015

       I like my machines to sound like machines, thank you very much!
vincevincevince, Aug 06 2015

pashute, Aug 15 2015


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