[MUD-Dev] Respecting NPCs

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Thu Oct 25 22:36:40 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


Travis Nixon posted on Thursday, October 25, 2001 4:59 PM

> In fact, the very existence of chatbots, the fact that people work
> on them, is a source of irritation to many AI researchers (such as
> Marvin Minsky) who would prefer people to concentrate thought and
> effort on lines of thought that are actually capable of producing
> a useful result.  (useful being used here assuming a goal of
> conversational-level AI, as opposed to parrots, which is what
> chatbots are and always will be)

I wouldn't dismiss chatbots so quickly.  See:

  http://aimovie.warnerbros.com/html/flash.html.

That silly AI chatbot (actually ALICE) managed to fool many, many
people merely because there COULD be a person occasionally inserting
a real sentence in with the automated responses.

Chatbots have more in common with magicians than parrots.  They
create the illusion of something genuine that, under careful
examination, could not feasibly exist.  Chatbots have just enough
misdirection to allow the illusion of conversation.

This has a lot to do with the extremely poor grammar of lazy writers
and readers than the linguistic capabilities of a chatbot.  Chatbots
have at times proved more eloquent and intelligent than other
players I've communicated with in MMORPGs (d00d3s, for example).

Want to make your NPCs lifelike?

  1) Stop making NPCs obviously NPCs.  Everyone gets the same kind
  of description modifiers (be it titles, colors, whatever).

  2) Make the basic conversation object a chatbot.

Mike "Talien" Tresca
RetroMUD Administrator
http://www.retromud.org/talien



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