Views of Oxford.
Today I am attending a meeting of the "Governing Council" for a software project called "Companions." These are computer programs that can converse with the user, a branch of artificial intelligence that has interested me for many years. In 1994 I sponsored a project to develop such a program and after three years’ research and development we had a program that won the 1997 Loebner prize competition in New York.
The chief researcher on our team was Yorick Wilks, a larger-than-life computer science professor at Sheffield University who has long been one of the world leaders in natural language processing (conversation, translation, etc.). Yorick is the Project Co-ordinator for the Companions project, which is funded by the European Union, and any event at which he is in charge is very much an uplifting experience — intellectually satisfying and great fun.
Rather than attempt to describe the Companions project myself, here is a link to the Companions web site. Enjoy!
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David Levy is an internationally recognized expert on artificial intelligence. He is president of the International Computer Games Association and in 1997 led the team that won the Loebner Prize — the world championship for conversational computer software. He is also the author of Robots Unlimited and Love and Sex with Robots. Levy lives in London with his wife, Christine, and their cat.
Books mentioned in this post
David Levy is the author of Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships