Monday, December 31, 2018

"Robert 2.0" chatbot : World's first "robot ufologist"?? (A Christmas present for the UFO community : 2 of 3)

During 2018, I have been exploring the potential application of various forms of Artificial Intelligence software to UFO research. I have focused mainly on potential data analysis, partly because I now have a rather large collection of digitised UFO books, magazines/newsletters, dissertations, official documents and case reports (possibly - so far as I can tell - the largest such collection in the world).

As a minor, fun off-shoot of that work on AI software, I have created a chatbot to attempt to respond to raw reports of basic UFO sightings by asking some questions and suggesting _possible_ solutions for them. This may, hopefully, lead to automated ways of trying to filter UFO reports.

"Robert 2.0" is, of course, just a fairly basic first attempt. At least I think it is a first. I'm not aware of anyone previously attempting to create a chatbot of this type. I understand that the convention is to hype up such chatbots as being "robots" (which, as a fan of Isaac Asimov, I find a bit offensive...) and to add "world's first" in front of any such innovation... :)

You can interact with "Robert 2.0" at the link below:
https://tinyurl.com/ycv7p8th







I have also integrated "Robert 2.0" with Facebook, so you can also interact with this chatbot by going to the webpage below and clicking on the "Send Message" button at the top right of the page and just sending "hi" or "hello" to start the interaction:
https://www.facebook.com/Robert-20-Robbie-the-Robot-ufologist-522581678238086/

The "Robert 2.0" chatbot utilises logic set out in flowcharts published in the updated version of the book "UFO Study". That book was originally written by veteran ufologist Jenny Randles. It was subsequently updated by another British researcher, Robert Moore. They have made the updated version of that book available online as a searchable PDF. It can be found at the link below.
http://files.afu.se/Downloads/Books/Other/Randles,%20Jenny%20and%20Moore,%20Robert%20-%20UFO%20Study.pdf



The logic for the daytime sightings part of the chatbot is based on the flowchart below from "UFO Study", as updated by Robert Moore.


The logic for the nocturnal sightings part of the chatbot is based on the flowchart below from "UFO Study", as updated by Robert Moore.


The "Robert 2.0" chatbot uses the IBM Watson Assistant framework, with integration with Facebook. The logic reflected in the above flowcharts can be easily amended, expanded and refined. Nothing is written in stone. Everything can be edited with a few clicks and a bit of thought.







The point of this little exercise is not to develop a perfect chatbot. "Robert 2.0", bless his heart, certainly isn't that bright. The point, however, is to prompt a bit of thinking about _how_ UFO reports can be filtered and how this can be achieved most efficiently and effectively - whether using chatbots, AI software or otherwise.

Basically, I just hope this provides a bit of fun at the end of 2018 ... and prompts a bit of thought during 2019. :)