Talk to an alien intelligence...
HAL is an application that quickly learns to converse in human languages. It does this by learning the words used, and learning the order the words (and punctuation) are used in. It has been demonstrated to work in many different languages.
It's like beginning to communicate with an alien intelligence, where the only information passed is words & symbols, and the alien intelligence is very good at learning from that.
At first, it knows very little, and mimics what it sees, but it quickly learns more and begins saying different things on its own. This is an interesting scenario to experience for yourself. But be careful – first-contact situations can be dangerous...
But that's not the only thing it can do.
With it only reading a simple text-file with sample dialog from an action (or comedy) movie (or play), you can become a part of that dialog, contributing to it and reacting to it. And where it actually is an alien intelligence, it will say amusing things you never would have thought of.
You can practice reading & writing dialog in a foreign language. Simply let it read a sample dialog, and then start communicating.
You can simulate text-based action adventure games, where you tell it which way to go, and what to do. Simply by reading the textual descriptions of the environment, and the things the player tells it, it simulates such a game (but don't bother to try drawing any maps). The “Cave Adventure” vocabulary illustrates this. It's like you're both down in that cave, stumbling over things, and arguing about what to do next.
You can argue philosophy with it. Apparently, knowing the meaning of the words is not that important. But sometimes, though the argument is convincing, it's hard to figure out the point it's trying to get across...
But don't try insulting it – it's probably better at that than you are...
Try it out on this web-site, by clicking the link below:
If you've followed the instructions on the Software page for obtaining Java, you can try out the application now. It will run the 'sand-box' (few privileges) version, so it can't access resources on your machine (resulting in buttons being grayed-out), but you can check out most of the application's functionality. Be sure to check out the Help-Information link below to quickly learn how to use it.
If your browser asks what to open the link below with, it should be Java Web Start (icedtea on Linux). Here is the link:
HAL 2.1 (sand-box version) – Use this link for current systems
HAL 2.1 (sand-box version) Linux/OpenJava7 – Use this link for Open Java 7 on Linux
If clicking one of the above links doesn't start the application (after maybe answering a dialog or two to allow it to run), click below for more instructions:
(if clicking the link doesn't start the application)
The 'sand-box' version (in the HAL 2.1 links above), can't fire-up your browser to look at the help, so you'll need to access the help using the link below. For details about using the application, click on the link below to access its help-information:
Help-Information for HAL 2.1
Sand-box version, compared to Full version
The sand-box security restraints prevent an application from accessing your files, reading the system properties, or using your Internet browser. The full version, on the other hand, runs as a normal application, with all-permissions. With the sand-box version, where it can't reference your files, it can't save its memory at the end of o conversation, or load its memory from a saved-memory file. Because of this, some functionality is grayed-out (unavailable).
With the full version of the application, all of the functionality is available.
The full version of the application
For the full version of the application, that runs with all permissions, as a normal application, use the link below. As is required by Java security requirements, it uses a trusted, revocable, code-signing certificate (of Laeramin LLC, by DigiCert, on AeresRealm.com).
HAL 2.1 (Full version)
The full version allows you to use the “Help” button, and to save the application's memory at the end of a session, This allows you to continue a conversation later.
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