I’ve had the great pleasure of appearing on both of the first two episodes of this season of Radiolab, one of my favorite shows on the radio. The first episode of the new season is called “Talking with Machines,” and it’s a look into a number of different stories that relate to humans’ relationships with technology, and what our tendency to make emotional investments in technology says about us.
The first segment of the “Talking to Machines” episode features the story of the Turing test and the Loebner Prize. I’m joined by a terrific group: Loebner Prize co-founder Robert Epstein tells MHH‘s shocking “Ivana” story from the first-person, MIT’s Sherry Turkle tells the story of ELIZA, and Cleverbot programmer Rollo Carpenter explains a bit about his creation. My own conversation with Jad and Robert covers everything from programming as introspection, to intimacy as surprise, and in the context of my participation as a confederate – “representing all humans:” – Robert even announces my name over the song “Eye of the Tiger,” which I confess is actually something I’ve always hoped would happen at some point in my life.
This week, in the new “Games” episode, Radiolab explores the scientific, philosophical, and emotional properties of games, including a segment which features myself and computer chess pioneer Frederic Friedel talking about one of The Most Human Human’s critical concepts: the importance of getting “out of book.” It’s one of the central ideas of MHH, and it’s fascinating to hear the Radiolab spin on it. Both episodes are not to be missed.