Computer talks like a toddler
- By: Kay Brennan
A computerised toddler could soon let us talk to our computers and do away with keyboards for good, say its creators.
The toddler called Hal is an artificial intelligence program that can understand everyday language. It was developed by Artificial Intelligence Enterprises (Ai), an Israeli company that claims that its program has the vocabulary and grasp of language of a 15 month old child.
Hal gets its ability to converse by being trained by a “carer” who feeds in stories and responds to questions, as if they were a parent and a child. In contrast to children, who can take years to learn the basics of language and grammar, Hal can be taught in a few days because of the intensity of the training.
The program, small enough to run on a laptop, is capable of simple sentences of a few words such as “Ball, Mummy.” Hal speaks English but