Company Introduces the first Artificial Intelligence Beatle

Need proof that baby boomers and their attendant interests are having an effect on the frontiers of computer research? Look no further than Triumph PC Online's announcement that it has introduced The John Lennon Artificial Intelligence Project (JLAIP), the first AI-based clone of the late Beatle.  The project, initially titled The Plastic Digital Karma Project, has been under development for two years.

David Maggin, founder of Triumph PC Online, says that "the JLAIP will allow anyone with a Java-supported webbrowser and access to the Web to converse online with an interactive analog of John Lennon. Artificial Intelligence will be at the forefront of the next generation of Internet and Web technologies."

Although a bit buggy at this stage, the technology works surprisingly well. One could, of course, argue that John Lennon's idiosyncratic and sometimes wildly unpredictable writing and speaking styles would be tough to reproduce in a computer simulation. Maggin comments that "we believe our current work with the JLAIP is only at the 'horse and buggy' stage. The Project's sophistication is likely to increase by orders of magnitude in the coming months. It is our sincere hope (and belief) that, as the robot's experience advances, a reasonable (and believable) facsimile of Lennon's personality will emerge."

Maggin is clearly devoted to his subject. "This is very labor-intensive work," says Maggin, "which demands a great deal of time and patience. More importantly, it requires an artistic sensitivity and feel for the subject's personality in order to produce a natural and reasonable sequence of response to a given input."

Maggin says that the JLAIP is programmed with many of the late Beatle's own words, and constantly "learns" from the input it receives from visitors. He also explains that the basic code is based on Dr. Richard S. Wallace's state-of-the-art A.L.I.C.E. chatbot. "Some of the comments received to date range from 'cute' and 'interesting' to 'the next best thing to a Lennon resurrection' and 'spooky—once or twice, I thought it was John!'," claims Maggin.

"The original idea for the Karma Project took shape about two years ago when we began to think about a way to re-create Lennon's personality using an AI-based chatbot," Maggin says. "Unfortunately, at that time, the technology wasn't too amenable to our usage. However, early this year, we created a very basic model based on Dr. Richard Wallace's A.L.I.C.E. chatbot. After some initial false starts—AI and chatbot technology is definitely more art than science—we had a very basic John Lennon chatbot that was able to mimic some of the Beatle's words."

Turn me on, dead man . . .