Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cleverbot for students studying English. Comes with ASR. What's that?

A big thanks to Nicholas Walker for introducing me to the subject of virtual characters and chatbots. Cleverbot is one clever robot. But try convincing Cleverbot that he is a robot and you might be facing a stiff fight, er.. I mean conversation.

Launched on the Web in 1997. 65 million conversations since then. Judged to be 59.3% human in the 2011 Turing Test, far exceeding AI experts' expectations, as the humans in the same event "achieved just 63.3%" (Wikipedia). Cleverbot is one impressive piece of software.

Available on the Web with text synthesis and voice recognition, Cleverbot has been mimicking human conversations with uncanny accuracy for more than a decade. Cleverbot is also available on iOS and Android (with a spoken voice!).

Since it has voice recognition, why not let your ESL or foreign students have some fun chatting with it with a microphone and keyboard? A student, who is in an institution studying English, can use it to:

  1. test her pronunciation. If a student pronounces the sentence correctly, the text will show up in the Cleverbot conversation window. Kudos to the student! If she discover that she can't get Cleverbot to understand what they were actually meaning to say, then she can revert to keyboard input for the sentence that she botched up earlier. The student can then move on to the next sentence and give it a try by speaking to the micropohone again.
  2. for plain fun with English communication. But watch the time! The student may either be turned off by an occasional nonsensical reply, or, more likely, be glued to the computer engrossed in an almost human-like conversation with a robot that refuses to concede that it is indeed a robot.
So here it is, embedded on Moodurian.blogspot for your chatting pleasure. You can talk to Cleverbot by clicking on the microphone icon located at the extreme right of the chat input box:

In the Appendix section is the simple embed code used. You can embed the code below as a Moodle HTML label resource, a Moodle webpage resource or a Book activity page. For full window functionality, head over to Have fun, but watch your clock and do not get carried away.

Oh by the way, ASR stands for Automated Speech Recognition.
Happy Chatting
Frankie Kam


<iframe name="cleverbot" width=540 height=340 allowtransparency=true frameborder=1 scrolling=yes src=""></iframe>

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