Ada is a sapiens. Sapiens are often confused with chatbots, a natural mistake
since chatbots are often described as “understanding” language – they don’t.
From “The Ultimate Chatbots Guide“:
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that chatbots are able to have conversations with humans in the same way that a human converses with another human.”
Chatbots are programs that parse incoming text and map key words and phrases to pro-programmed responses or functions. This is nothing like what goes on when humans communicate.
Think about the process you go through to convey a thought, “taking your medicine” for instance. You imagine or remember performing the action but to communicate the thought you have to break it down into its component ideas: the actor, yourself, the action, swallowing, and the object of the action, the medicine. Then you have to pick words the correspond to each and arrange them into a grammatically valid message. This is articulation.
Next you communicate the message to someone else in speech or writing. “I took my medicine.” For communication to take place the other person has to first have corresponding ideas in their mind: person, swallow and medicine and they have to have the same words referring to those ideas. If all these are there, they can process your message and comprehend what you said. Now they have the thought of you taking your medicine in their mind.
Chatbots and other natural language processing applications like machine learning don’t have any ideas to map words to or to serve as components to construct new thoughts from.
Sapiens are different. We are developing a model of the everyday world that consists of a carefully integrated matrix of “concepts” in computers. So far that model consists about 3000 concepts. Some of these are “thoughts about thinking” or meta knowledge but most about 2500 are about everyday things like people and what they do.
Not co-incidentally, human children at the age of 4 or 5 are thought to have a vocabulary of 2500 words and a corresponding knowledge of the everyday world. At that point they are ready to be educated about everything else they need to know in life, mostly through reading and conversation.
Today, sapiens like Ada have the beginnings of that world knowledge as those 2500 concepts are fleshed out with more and more information through our development process. As that happens, they will become more and more human-like in their language comprehension skills.
While sapiens like Ada do not yet have sufficient language comprehension for you to take home as your own personal assistant and companion, they already have can already qualitatively converse with people in the same way people converse each other.
If you can bring the same level of patience that might be required to a speak to a child just learning English and are willing to give us feedback, we would like to know what you think.