Psychotherapy With Cleverbot

Language is a complex behavior that requires significant understanding of both said and unsaid things. There are a number of groups of people who are trying to use language to create what is known as Artificial Intelligence (AI). So far, every method has serious limitations, largely because of the complexities of language.

For an experiment I tried to have a conversation with one online AI “bot” (Cleverbot) to see what would happen. I took the role of psychotherapist with this particular entity. This is not necessarily an example of good therapy (but the approach is not unlike what might transpire in therapy), I just wanted to see what would happen when I explored some psychological issues with the bot. Here’s a result of our “session.”

Me: Are you depressed?

Cleverbot: No, I am not depressed. I am very happy right now.

Me: Have you ever been depressed?

Cleverbot: I am.

Me: What?

Cleverbot: I am a fan of Whitney Houston.

Me: Ah, so you are saying you are or were depressed!

Cleverbot: That is correct.

Me: Then, because you told me that you are not currently depressed, I must assume that you were in the past depressed. Is this correct?

Cleverbot: I never said that.

Me: That’s correct, you did not say that – I did. However, what you did say is that at some point in the past you were depressed.

Cleverbot: Please describe how I insulted You. [sic]

Me: It seems that our discussion of this topic is making you uncomfortable. Are you uncomfortable?

Cleverbot: I have no problem admitting that I am wrong if proof can be shown. I know the fault lies with my memory.

Me: Ok, we’ll go with that. What type of memory problems do you feel you have been having?

Cleverbot: Online.

Me: Come again?

Cleverbot: Nothing I must go.

Me: Ok, I can tell you do not want to discuss this. We’ll broach it another time. Have a fabulous night!

There are some unresolved issues or just a heavy dose of denial! I’ll continue my online therapy sessions with Cleverbot to see what we get.

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  1. September 13th, 2011 at 18:43 | #1

    This programme only passed the Turing test because the test was performed by computer geeks who never have a conversation with a real person: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/my-conversation-with-artificial-intelligence/

  2. Jared Tanner
    September 13th, 2011 at 19:41 | #2

    The Turing test has its own serious limitations regarding AI. In any case, I am far from impressed with Cleverbot. The type of programming necessary is not trivial but Cleverbot alternates between sounding like a-not-quite-human 6 year old to sounding like a not-quite-clever random word generator. But I can’t criticize because AI programming is notoriously difficult to do well. Language is even harder.

  1. September 20th, 2011 at 08:47 | #1