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Chatterbox Challenge > Botmasters > Mark Connell Go Back
Chatterbots
Name: Mark Connell
Age: 38
Sex: Male
State: Atlanta, Georgia
Country: USA
E-mail: mark@shadowboxer.com
Chatterbots MarkBot
What gave you the idea of developing a bot?
I've always been interested in artificial intelligence. The idea that you can create a software program that emulates a human is addictive. I created a simple bot a few years ago and then thought about how to build a better one over time. The MarkBot is my latest effort, but won't be my last.

Is creating bots a passion for you? A hobby?
Right now it is a hobby and an interest. It certainly takes up a lot of my bandwidth for something that isn't my primary business.

When did you start creating bots? Why?
I started in 1998. I just wanted to see if I could do it.

What language is your bot programmed in?
A mixture of Visual Basic, stored procedures, and some JAVA.

How much time do you spend working on your bot per week/month/year?
It varies a great deal depending on how much time I have available. I have had some pretty heavy duty work projects lately but I still try to put in hours each day.

In your opinion, what are the best qualities of your bot?
The MarkBot emulates me.. many other bots just pretend to be bots. I think it is much harder to pretend to be a real human. Answers such as "I haven't been programmed for that yet" don't work when you are trying to give the impression that you are human. It also has many different ways to find an answer.. not just the end result of one keyword search. It is hard to tell the difference in a short chat, but over time you can tell that it doesn't repeat itself very often.

What is your ultimate goal for your bot?
It has a long way to go, but the MarkBot is structured to pass the Turing Test. It has fooled some people in some instances, but there is still much work to do. The Turing Test is the holy grail for bot builders.

How do you see chatterbots being used in the future?
Ah.. I can't tell you that yet! The only hint I can give is to supplement human knowledge.

Can chatterbots replace humans?
Never. Not even close. At best, they will make knowledge more attainable and accessible for humans. Some jobs may be better suited for bots, but that has been happening in manufacturing for a long time. The same will eventually be true with information bots.

What is your favorite bot memory?
The first time the MarkBot had someone really believing it was me. You can't beat that feeling.

What was your worst bot moment?
Each and every time it loses its way.


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