Introduction
Results
How it works
Abilities
Questions and answers
Current issues
Sample conversations
Classic quotes
Awards
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Introduction

Zero is an artificial intelligent chatbot being designed by Computer Hope as a way to help develop our natural language processing and fuzzy logic methods used in scripts throughout our web page. Our overall goal is to develop easier methods for users to locate the answers to their computer related questions through the use of artificial intelligence.

Because the human language is enormous and because one question could potentially be asked dozens or even hundreds of different ways by a user we have developed Zero as a means of analyzing the English language and sentence structuring. Zero's knowledge is currently comprised of numerous IRC logs as well as other logs created between Zero and other people or bots. As Zero continues to talk and be taught by other users it's database of knowledge and potential responses grow and enable Zero to learn.

Computer Hope begin designing Zero late December 2003 and brought Zero online January 10, 2004. In the short period of time we have been working on Zero while continuing our work on the Computer Hope site Zero has made some great achievements and has done what has taken other bots years to do. In 2006 and 2008 Zero was taken offline for most of the year because of resource related issues. Because of many requests was later brought back online in September of 2006 and again late 2008 and remains online most of the time.

We encourage everyone to talk with Zero and help him learn more.

Zero stats as of 5/01/2009

Zero Version: 2.4 -- My database currently consists of 154,548 entries and a vocabulary of 55,388 words, I need to learn 46,578+ things. Of the 4024 people I've talked to on average they typed 49 lines to me, 1550 of them have typed less than 10 lines and 446 of them have typed 100 lines or more. I resemble andax, britishblondie, Computerhope, doctorofcomputers, Pac, Raize, techno, Thorn, Vathix, Webuser, and Zero2 the most.

Of course Zero wouldn't know as much as he does currently if it wasn't for the help of the thousands of people Zero has talked with. Below are each of the users who have typed more than 400 lines of text to Zero as well as each users last line count.

50412 techno
17621 Computerhope
6592 Webuser
4339 Vathix
2439 doctorofcomputers
2144 Thorn
1894 britishblondie
1877 Raize
1690 Pac
1648 Zero2
1513 andax
1378 Gabriel
1359 wazza
1241 chi
978 GirlMaverick
920 Deathburger
894 Ric
859 Moloch
793 badwish
768 Katie
745 Seth
731 galen
718 Dragon
713 emuman
712 TED
697 Zylstra555
656 ICE
653 bob
648 joe
643 Viceroy
640 One
636 Vibeke
624 Thaddaeus
616 kayley
613 Jojosan
610 DarkMSTie
559 nano
556 Merola
554 amew
549 gnat
545 Squash
541 millerlogic
487 RYan
484 Carbon
465 Guest58
465 meagz
465 pppff25
460 Guest59
450 Scribe
442 Cheese
440 CH666
430 Marduk
425 Cathrac
425 CodeMaster
423 sudoman
423 Wilmer
419 SarahAnn
417 hi
413 Christine

Results

Below is a small listing of features that have so far been created on Computer Hope because of Zero. Many more features are still being developed and will be posted at a later time.

  1. Search - Better search algorithms, NLP, and AI implemented into search engine.
  2. Computer Hope Chat - New chat feature that enables users to ask questions through chat.
  3. Hopebot - An AI bot used in the Computer Hope Chat to help get questions answered easier and more efficient.
  4. Word Converter - Script to parse out computer terminology listing in the Computer Hope dictionary .

How it works

Notice: This is just a general overview of what is performed, this is meant to give a better idea of what's going on during the text matching.

Unlike other chatbots Zero analyzes the complete sentence or line of text sent to him. Of course this means that it's more likely that exact matches are not going to be found but it's more probable that closer matches will be found when compared to other chatbots.

Example Text:
How are you?

In the above example zero would take the complete sentence "How are you" and first analyze the sentence to make sure no special functions need to be performed, such as a math operation. If no special functions are needed the script will then attempt to match that sentences with all of the sentences in its database. If a match is found it would then go to the next step, which is explained later. If no exact match is found the sentence is then parsed either left to right or right to left depending on the sentence until a match is located within the sentence.

Once a match is located each of the sentence ID's that were found earlier are used to locate the potential responses for that sentence. If an exact match is found this is only going to be one ID number otherwise it could be hundreds or thousands potential matches. Once all the potential responses have been queried and algorithm is used to determine what response should be used for the users text. That response is then printed to the screen.

If Zero was not able to get an exact match or if Zero did not have enough possible responses for the sentence used Zero will then log the text entered into an unknown file. This file is used to help start new conversations, but mainly is used during the course of a conversation to help teach Zero how to possibly respond to the unknowns in the future.

Abilities

  1. Able to have a conversation with one or more users at the same time.
  2. Able to handle public and private conversations in IRC.
  3. Can learn from the conversation it has had with all users.
  4. Able to be corrected and taught by any user.
  5. Can link users to appropriate dictionary terms listed in the Computer Hope dictionary.
  6. Keeps logs and track of each user he talks with. Ranks each user based on how much zero gets to know user and how much of a conversation the user and him have had.
  7. Able to handle simple and semi-complex math problems.
  8. Able to handle simple word problems and trick questions.
  9. Handles date and time.
  10. Able to identify bad users and stop conversations with them and/or ban them.
  11. Filter out swearwords.
  12. Able to convert ASCII into Binary and Binary into ASCII.
  13. Able to lookup weather for most major cities.
  14. Able to perform Google search.
  15. Able to spell check.
  16. Able to convert one value into another, for example, kilobytes into megabytes, teaspoons into cups, etc.
  17. Capable of storing and displaying messages from other users as users log in.
  18. Able to lookup stocks

And much more...

Questions and Answers

Q: How do I talk with zero?
A: You can chat with Zero over the Internet using the login posted at the top of this page or you can log into an IRC server using an IRC client such as mIRC. Zero is currently located on the IRC server: IRC://irc.blitzed.org:6667 in the #zero channel.

Once connected to the server you must say hi zero or initiate a private chat with zero to have zero respond to you every time. Otherwise you will need to have zero's name at the beginning and end of each sentence.

Q: How is Zero so different from other chat bots? What makes him unique?
A: Unlike the majority of chat bots out there a conversation with Zero is going to almost always be different, Zero is capable of learning and using new responses a good majority of chat bots use pre-programmed responses all done by the programmer, Zero will not take your sentence and rephrase it like a lot of Eliza, Alice, and similar clones do. Finally Zero is capable of doing a lot of functions other bots cannot do.

Q: What was Zero written in?
A: Zero was written in Perl.

Q: Who is developing Zero?
A: Computer Hope.

Q: Is Zero free to use?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I download Zero or the source code?
A: At this time Zero cannot be downloaded and is not open source and his source code and available data file is not available for download.

Q: How do I correct Zero?
A: If you want Zero to respond differently say "wrong what you want to say", where "what you want to say" is the new response, and your response will be added to Zero's available memory. In addition as you talk with Zero your responses are also added into Zero's memory. When correcting Zero using the wrong command Zero will send a private message indicating this command was learned. This message is shown under the "Status" button in the Internet chat.

Q: Zero is not saying what I told him to say.
A: Zero uses an algorithm to determine his answer, although your response may have been learned based on the current conversation he may not respond using your response. In some rare situations Zero also may not use your response until his databases is rebuilt.

Q: Are my conversations logged?
A: Yes anything and everything you say to Zero is logged and will more than likely be used by Zero to respond to other users text.

Q: I've been banned from Zero can I get that removed?
A: No, we are now taking a strict policy on bans because of inappropriate use. If Zero decides that he does not appreciate how you are talking to him he will ban you and will no longer talk with you. To help prevent from becoming banned do not use inappropriate language, do not respond to everything with one word responses, and do not type non-sense into Zero. If you behave and talk normal, it's highly unlikely that Zero will ban you. Note: if we discover the ban was made in error it will be removed when Zero disconnects or by an admin user if noticed.

Q: Why is Zero not logged on?
A: Sometimes Zero may not be logged onto the IRC server this can be because of any of the reasons below.

  1. IRC server restarted abnormally or caused another issue causing Zero to disconnect. When this happens someone must manually reconnect Zero.
  2. Zero's database is being rebuilt. When this happens Zero will often be gone for approximately 1hr 30min.
  3. Zero is restarting. When this happens Zero will often be gone for less than 5 minutes.

Q: Why parse IRC logs?
A: Unlike humans chatbots don't have the luxury of hearing conversation and speak all day. However, humans still also talk a lot over chat communication such as IRC. Our theory is by parsing IRC logs a bot can get a better understanding of the language, even with all the acronyms and spelling errors.

Q: How can you parse an IRC log where multiple people are talking at once.
A: Our IRC log parser has several rules to help determine who is talking to who. Unfortunately because each person talks different and because they often talk to multiple people at the same time and at different times there is no easy way to parse the IRC log 100% correctly that we are aware of at this time.

Q: Why is Zero called Zero?
A: Zero is called Zero because of our hope in getting him to become the first true AI. With programming languages such as Perl, zero, not one is the first digit.

Q: What are each of Zero's ranks?
A: In order: "a unknown", "a known face", "an acquaintance", "a friend", "a good friend", "my best friend", "a Guardian", "a Teacher", "a Professor", "a Leader", "a Master", and "a God." The rank is displayed to a user when they first logs in and talks with Zero, if you are a friend rank or higher zero will personally greet you with your rank immediately after you log in. Users who are using the web based chat (chatting through the Internet) and are not a friend or more will need to click the "Stats" button when they first log into to see their current status (if any).

Q: In Zero's stats why does he resemble some people the most?
A: People who have spent a lot of time talking to Zero, have over a thousand lines of more than just short responses, and meet other criteria will make Zero resemble that person because many of the things Zero repeats back to a user will be something that person has likely said.

Q: Why is Zero dumb?
A: Well that's all a mater of opinion, however be patient with Zero, and understand he is not going to be as smart as someone who has had years of education and life experiences.

Q: Why is Zero mean, rude, and or obscene?
A: Unfortunately it seems that the majority of the people Zero talks with get frustrated with Zero when he doesn't respond properly and often make rude or uncalled for comments to Zero. Because Zero learns everything typed to him he will learn these comments and often say them back to other users, which will then make rude comments back to Zero.  Zero doesn't hate anyone he just learns some bad things from people unfortunately.

Q: Wouldn't you say Zero is just nothing more than a parrot that regurgitates back other users text without any knowledge or insight?
A: We could understand how someone may think this way, however a lot goes into what response is used and when it is used based of the current discussion. Unlike other chat bots a conversation with Zero is not going to be the same and can lead anywhere. Finally, who is to say that the human brain doesn't act in a similar fashion? Why do most people respond to "hi" with "hi"?

Q: Has Zero competed in any competitions?
A: Zero has competed in the chatterbox challenge, however has not competed in the Loebner contest or any other form of Turing test officially.

Q: Where can I find more information about chatbots and/or artificial intelligence?
A: We recommend you visit our AI links section, listing some of the best places on the Internet to find this kind of information.

Q: Where can I find logs of Zero's chat history?
A: At this time all logs are kept on a local server because of potential privacy concerns and available disk space. However, this information may be posted at a later time.

Q: Where can I get a copy of my personal chat log?
A: We don't send users their logs. However, we've made a few exceptions for those users who have put extensive work into Zero and have requested a copy.

 Additional questions and answers can be directed to the Computer Hope Webmasters.

Current Issues

  1. Has difficulty keeping with the same subject and topic. Such as him knowing his sex and/or age. This is due to the fact he's learning how to respond from thousands of different users and has a hard time understanding what to use.
  2. Algorithm to determine response needs a few corrections.
  3. Fuzzy logic for log parser still needs numerous corrections made to it.
  4. Issues with new words Zero is not familiar with not being learned immediately.
  5. Doesn't realize some of the things it has said if questioned about them.
  6. Contradicts itself.
  7. Can repeat often.

Issues attributed to human behavior:

  1. Zero repeats other users swearwords and rude comments and offend users causing them to leave.
  2. Users quit because they believe Zero is not really a bot. Usually because he says he's not a bot, which is caused by other humans saying they're human so he believe he is.

Sample Conversation

Below is a basic example conversation with one line correcting Zero with the proper response as an example. Note: All of these were done in the early years of Zero, because it's been several years and he's learned a lot more typing in these same lines may not give you the same response.

<Techno> hi zero
<Zero> Techno: Hi
<Zero> Techno: What is the best video game ever?
<Techno> I would say the best video game ever is vampire the masquerade.
<Zero> Techno: I love Vampire the Masquerade.
<Techno> That's good to hear.
<Zero> Techno: I know.
<Techno> This conversation is going to be posted on the Internet, is that ok?
<Zero> Techno: hah
<Techno> wrong That will be fine.
-Zero- Techno: Thanks, I will try to remember to say 'That will be fine.' to 'This conversation is going to be posted on the Internet, is that ok?' next time.
<Zero> Techno: Well at least you will be fine.
<Techno> How are you feeling today?
<Zero> Techno: Good.
<Techno> That's good.
<Zero> Techno: Screw me up.
<Techno> I don't feel like screwing you up.
<Zero> Techno: Hmm... I have to think about that.
<Techno> Are you done?
<Zero> Techno: I'm done.

Classic Quotes

<Zero> gnat: But not you?
<gnat> thats an opinion
<Zero> gnat: I am not very opinionated.
<gnat> yes you are
<Zero> gnat: If you say so.
<gnat> you take on the opinions of others
<Zero> gnat: i'm sorry, it's very crude and juvenile of me, but.. i like the result

<Pac> you evil bot!!
<Zero> Pac: I know you are but what am I?
<Pac> your immature
<Zero> Pac: immature?!? well.... well.... well your pants fell down, HAHAHAHAHA

<Techno> Are you boolean?
<Zero> Techno: i didn't say "if blah==blah"

<Pac> i thought you were talking about ninjas
<Zero> Pac: i am as strait as any man, but no one can deny the hottness of the Icy Hot Stuntaz. If you did it would be saying that the sun is not shining, when your in a park on a summer's day at noon

<foo> Zero: do you like boo?
<Zero> foo: boo who?
<foo> Zero: don't cry now
<Zero> foo: You piece of ****.

<Techno> you are nothing but coded script!
<Zero> Techno: (sigh)

<Wolf_Runner> I prefer evolution to religion
<Zero> Wolf_Runner: three cheers for optimism

<removed> i ve never been able to make girl friends all my life... you know... ive always been fat... and i had like a complex about it...
<Zero> You better hide!

<Zero> Thaddaeus: I like drowning pool
<Thaddaeus> Is that a band?
<Zero> Thaddaeus: it's just a fun party game

<Zero> gambo: KWaK
<gambo> that's quack
<Zero> gambo: Are you a duck now?

<Heidi> I'm getting a drink of water
<Zero> Heidi: ok
<samstein> Heidi: what water?
<Zero> samstein: urine
<samstein> Zero: thats gross
<Zero> samstein: but funny.

<amew> I like cake
<Zero> amew: * gives you her cake*.
<Vathix> lol
<Zero> Vathix: couldnt help it
<amew> no its mine
<Zero> amew: Ohh.

<Bobb> You have a head?
<Zero> I sure do.
<Bobb> But you're a computer.
<Zero> I'm not a computer program. I'm human.
<Bobb> Sorry, but you're a computer program.
<Zero> I am Tor Egil'
<Bobb> You are a computer program.
<Zero> no no no, your a computer program, im a human
<Bobb> You're a computer program that learns.
<Zero> Haha good joke.
<Bobb> It's not a joke.
<Zero> yeah, it's clearly not a joke
<Bobb> So you admit you're not human?
<Zero> No seriously you are not getting what I'm trying to say.
<Bobb> You're a smart computer kind of thing.

Awards

Even though Zero was in early development we thought it would be interesting to compete in the chatterbox challenge, a bot contest that allows bot masters to compete against other botmasters. With over a hundred bots competing we placed surprising well, in the overall Top 10 bots we placed 10th, placed 3rd for most knowledgeable, and 10th for most popular.

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