To address Art's questions, ALICE is still "dumb as a sack of hammers" as Art would say. What he's noticed is "bad answer.aiml," the implementation of a couple of new tags in the AIML set which is used by Pandorabots and a couple of other apps like Program D.
Alicebots will already collect and store the user's personal information in a cookie, and will "remember" this information as long as the cookie and the bot's connection to it are intact. So if a bot recognizes your client ID, it may also "remember" things like your name, birthday, job, location, etc. that are stored on the cookie on your machine. It's a fragile connection at best, however. Republishing the bot, the user cleaning his cookies, etc., will destroy the connection. If nothing else, Pandorabots is restarted a couple of times a week, which wipes all the cookie connections.
Bad answer.aiml just extends that ALICE function to include and/or substitute whole phrases or sentences. Thus bad answer.aiml usually implements as the bot asking "What should I have said instead?" then adopting a user specified change in its responses. However, ALICE still DOES NOT write to her own files, so it's just another type of temporary information which is stored on the cookie.
I'll continue to maintain that there's less difference than most Hal users would think between the two types of bots. AIML bots just take it for granted that the botmaster is part of the software. Where Hal has a relatively simple algorithm for encoding and correlating materials in its files, ALICE actually has an infinitely more complex algorithm - the botmaster, himself - to perform the same function. Admittedly, this takes the fun of exploration out of it for the botmaster, since he eventually becomes the author of all the bot's best lines, lol. But it can result in an inversely proportionate reward of discovery for bot users external to the process, given sufficient cleverness on the part of the botmaster. As I've said quite a few times before, ALICE is a bot you make for others to enjoy.
Kind of sad about me inheriting the Chatterbot Collection. It's former webmaster just suddenly announced plans to transfer or close the site for undisclosed reasons, and vanished. I'd long been the major silent contributor to the link search, anyway, and rather than let it close or pass to hands unknown, I've adopted it for the time being. To folks like Art who do a lot of surfing, when you run across links that aren't already listed, I'd appreciate it if you'd send them along to me for the irregular updates. Happy roboteering! KT