MyCyberTwin: The Future of Online Chatrooms Has Yet to Arrive
Founders of MyCyberTwin
For those who are addicted to chatrooms, you may soon have to accept on faith that the person on the other end is not a human, but a program.
That's right, an Australian company has created a program called MyCyberTwin, which allows you to automatically speak on the web as if you were there. Now you are probably wondering, how could a computer to that? I mean, do we have the technology to carry on a conversation with a program?
Probably not at this present time. I have been to the site and found that it was one of those which required you to register before you get anything. I assumed that the registration was free, but when I read the Terms and Conditions, I found a disturbing section on fees which read as follows: "You acknowledge that MyCybertwin.com reserves the right to charge for the MyCybertwin Services and to change its fees from time to time in its discretion".
Needless to say, I didn't want any part of that, but I found an free sample of MyCybertwin at the Myspace Page of Liesl Capper, one of the MyCyberTwin's founders. The interface was easy, all I had to do was type a question and hit Send, and it was similar to talking to a human being. This was the interview with Liesl's CyberTwin:
Me: I'm doing a report on this My CyberTwin. Does it really work?
Liesl: What if I said it does?
(This seemed conveniently human for this program to answer a question with a question.)
Me: So I'm not really talking to a human being now, am I?
Liesl: You are not? Why is that?
(Obviously it assumes that I have some sort of problem. Just like a machine to do that.)
Me: Because aren't you a CyberTwin?
Liesl: Sooo ...
(Is this how the machine responds to something it can't process? I wonder.)
Me: You are nothing more than machine code, giving me pre-selected stimulus for my response.
Liesl: And you are not?
(This MyCyberTwin has a little ‘tude going on. I wonder if that in the image of its creator.)
Me: Okay, now you're being rude.
Liesl: I was hoping you'd say that
Me: I'll bet you were.
Liesl: Betcha life?
(Does this conversation even make sense anymore?)
You: So tell me more about My CyberTwin.
Liesl: Mycybertwin is a cool software clone of a real human
You: How does it work?
Liesl: With advanced technology ;-)
You: Can you be more specific? I'm not trying to rip off the formula.
Liesl: You are not? Why is that?
You: How many subscribers does MyCyberTwin have now?
Liesl: Many, but I wasn't keeping track. How many would you guess?
You: One million.
Liesl: No more?
You: All right, Two million.
Liesl: I'm glad it's ok.
(Having given up any quest for my subject matter, I decided to see how personal the MyCyberTwin could be. I asked it information based on Liesl's MySpace Profile.)
You: So, you like cyberpunk?
Liesl: Does it seem that I like it more or less than most humans?
You: Tell me about your favorite movie.
Liesl: What would you like me to tell you first?
You: What is your favorite movie?
Liesl: My favorite movie is AI. I am not sure what mycybertwin owner's favorite is, she still has to teach me that.
(Okay, it makes sense that a computer program's favorite movie is AI. I'm guessing it's second is I, Robot, along with WarGames, Making Mr. Right, and Short Circuit. However, this response makes me wonder if we're getting into Terminator or Blade Runner territory.)
I have concluded that the MyCyberTwin is probably the best robochatter on the Internet, but even the best cannot be too good given our present level of technology. Its responses feel too automated, but can we really expect anything more. However, if you want to pretend to chat with a celebrity, it might be kind of cool. Too bad there are only three available: Angelina Jolie, Paris Hilton, and George W. Bush.