UNM students create computer bots that talk


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A group of University of New Mexico students got really creative building what’s known as “chatbots.”

“It’s election season and what better idea for a chatbot than Donald Trump,” said UNM Student and creator of Trump-Bot, Ryan De La O.

De La O and his group are just one of many students given the assignment to create a chatbot for their computer science class.

“It’s pretty exciting to be able to chat with something that you know you’ve built and programmed and it actually responds in an intelligently formed way,” said Lydia Tapia, Assistant Professor at UNM.

The goal was to build a chatbot around a certain person or topic and then make its responses come off as real as possible.

“It’s pretty fun for the students not only to build it and implement it so it can respond appropriately, but also then to test them and interact with hem as well,” said Tapia.

Besides Trump-Bot, programmed to discuss topics like China, Mexico, and jobs, regardless of most of the questions asked, there was also Cult-Bot.

“I’ve never met a cult member, but interviews with cult members I’ve seen sometimes they sort of ramble on about things that don’t really make sense,” said Graduate Student, Torran Kahleck.

A student also built Conspiracy-Bot.

“I’ve read a lot of conspiracy theories online and they’re very humorous so I thought, oh, a bot that believes in all sorts of conspiracy theories, that would be a fun one,” said Jarrett Decker.

For example, if someone asks Conspiracy-Bot about the Earth, it’ll say it’s flat and hollow.

“He’s also very paranoid,” said Decker.

Students said they had a blast creating the bots. Most importantly, they said the project taught them something new.

“I had never done something quite like this before,” said Kahleck.

The students in the class got to vote on their favorite bots, scoring them on believability, humor, and knowledge.

Cult-Bot and Trump-Bot got the most votes.

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