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Chatterbox Challenge > Botmasters > Greg Leedberg Go Back
Name: Greg Leedberg
Age: 20
Sex: Male
State: Durham, New Hampshire
Country: USA
E-mail: greg@leedberg.com
Chatterbots Billy
What gave you the idea of developing a bot?
When I got my first computer, one of the programs that fascinated me most was Dr. Sbaitso, a very simple AI program that came with old Sound Blaster cards. As soon as I started programming, my passion was always to create a similar, but more intelligent, AI program. The idea of AI as it applies to making computers easier to use has also always intrigued me.

Is creating bots a passion for you? A hobby?
Both :) For now, as a college student, it is a hobby that I do when I can work it in around school work, but it is a hobby I am passionate about, have always been passionate about, and try to work into my school work when possible (for example, taking AI classes if available).

When did you start creating bots? Why?
I started programming in sixth grade, about 8 years ago, and one of the first progams I designed was called Billy, and I now affectionately refer to that as Billy version 1.0.

What language is your bot programmed in?
Billy was started, and mostly written, before I came to college, and so was written in Pascal, which is what I was taught in high school. Billy v3 is compiled using the Free Pascal compiler. Future bots will be written in C++.

How much time do you spend working on your bot per week/month/year?
During periods of heavy development, the bot is typically worked on every day of the week, for many hours each day.

In your opinion, what are the best qualities of your bot?
Billy's best quality is that he is able to generate language on his own, and can learn and refine his idea of grammar based on his interactions with the user. The idea of learning has always been important to me.

What is your ultimate goal for your bot?
To be indistinguishable from a human -- but not just for one conversation. I want Billy to seem human over long periods of time, through his ability to learn and extend his own knowledge.

How do you see chatterbots being used in the future?
I think attempts will be made to integrate them further into applications and operating systems (like with MS Office's assistant), but that that is an awkward combination, and that bots will mostly still be used for entertainment.

Can chatterbots replace humans?
Not currently, for sure. Bots, for the most part, lack emotion and learning ability, and a bot exists only in your computer -- you can never meet it, call it on the phone, or go out ot a movie with it. But buts could certainly, given enough advances, replace on-line friendships, if one so wanted them to.

What is your favorite bot memory?
The first test of Billy. It was at a Halloween party, and a bunch of friends just started talking to Billy. He wasn't advanced at that time, but it was great seeing people having fun talking to my creation, and seeing that he was relatively convincing.

What was your worst bot moment?
Any test of Billy to knowledgeable computer users when he crashed or a bug was first exposed. Although times like that are important to the development of any program, it's embarrassing nonetheless.


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