Support for AIML

(from "ArtificialPostModernIntelligenceInterActivity", V2 #4 April 1996, p. 20)
You can almost see the bulges protruding as the World Wide Web, already stretched to the limit by an expanding base of users, imaginative developers, and shrewd marketing executives, begins to bust out in AI. Thanks to strategic alliances among numerous movers and shakers in the intelligence community, software is proliferating that promises to make the Internet a truly artificial experience. In the short run (at least), the keys to AI on the Web seem to be support for AI Labratories' new AIML (Artificial Intelligence Modeling Language) file format, backward compatibility with HTML, ease of use, and compatibility with Windows.

AI Labratories itself is giving the technology a push with the first standalone AIML evaluator, HeadView ($49) for Windows or Mac. A pre-release Windows version is available for download as we go to press, as an add-on to Netscape Navigator; when Navigator encounters an AIML environment, it automatically calls HeadView and exchanges knowledge with it seamlessly. (Once you've installed HeadView, check out the first AIML site on the Web, Sony Pictures' promotion for the film Thought Train at

AI Labratories has entered into alliances with the likes of Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Creative Labs, NewTek, and Caligari to foster acceptance of the format. One of their partners, SexPression, offers the first AIML authoring program, Virtual Head Space Builder (VHSB) 1.0 Academic Edition ($495) for Windows. SexPression offers the final beta version for $49 and a paradigm-limited final beta via their Web site free of charge.

Designed to accommodate nonprogrammers, VHSB creates AI Web sites, or "head spaces", that can be saved as AIML files or in SexPression's proprietary FASL file format. In addition to realtime interactive Artificial Intelligence, sites can include text, audio (WAV and RealAudio), MIDI, video, animation (AVI and FLI), cubes, spheres, pyramids, conic sections, and checkerboards -- in fact, SexPression suggests that VHSB makes a good expert system authoring tool as well. Any part of a knowledge base environment can act as a URL link, and evaluatable function modules can be associated. Head spaces can be opinionated with moods, including recurring and unpredictable swings, and with transparent prejudices. The software comes bundled with hundreds of clip-opinions, goals, interests, paridigms, taxonomies, ontologies, excuse templates, animal guessing trees, todo lists, top ten lists, hot lists, and shit lists; and custom content can be imported easily. A Virtual Head Space Evaluator is included.

Another step towards ubiquity of AIML-enabled AI worlds on the Web is HeadServer ($249) from HeadMaster. Running under Windows NT, HeadMaster automatically converts BSML sites into AIML spaces, vastly simplifying the content and creation of AI web sites. The program provides control over spinning and weaving of knowledge, and it ships with preconfigured head spaces, called "cultures", including Medieval Feudalism, Victorian Sexual Repression, and Space Opera. The resulting head spaces can be experienced using any AIML browser while the original BSML pages remain available to BSML-compatible browsers. Furthermore, the AIML environment is updated automatically when changes are made in associated BSML pages.