Ray Kurzweil is building a chatbot for Google

Ray Kurzweil is building a chatbot for Google.
“He was asked when he thought people would be able to have meaningful conversations with artificial intelligence, one that might fool you into thinking you were conversing with a human being. “That’s very relevant to what I’m doing at Google,” Kurzweil said. “My team, among other things, is working on chatbots. We expect to release some chatbots you can talk to later this year.”

I have some questions.

  • Will my chatbot be able to suggest topics?
  • Could my chatbot ‘watch’ my YouTube channel? It could ‘learn’ a lot about me and my interests if that’s possible. Same for my flickr photo stream
  • Could I configure a sense of humor? Irony? Smartass-ishness?
  • Could I make it location aware? (“I see you didn’t go to the Coffee Zone today, Steve. Decide to stay home with the pups?)
  • My calendar (“Good morning, Steve. I see it’s been a month since you picked up Hatti’s anti-itch meds. Shall I email the vet to refill?”)
  • Can I instruct my chatbot to let me know when I start sounding whiney?
  • Can my chatbot follow what I’m reading and discuss it with me? Or offer to introduce me to others reading the same book?
  • If, after a year, I decide I’m uncomfortable having a chatbot ‘relationship,’ will there be an ethical consideration in terminating it?

I wonder if he chose to refer to this as a “chatbot” because it’s a less threatening term (and Artificial Intelligence). I have a hunch it will be (or eventually become) something far more.