SHRDLU - talking to a computer in 70's

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ivan.moony

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SHRDLU - talking to a computer in 70's
« on: January 07, 2019, 11:55:02 AM »
I hope you won't mind a bit of history. I just stumbled upon this cutie in Wikipedia:

Quote
SHRDLU was an early natural language understanding computer program, developed by Terry Winograd at MIT in 1968–1970. In it, the user carries on a conversation with the computer, moving objects, naming collections and querying the state of a simplified "blocks world", essentially a virtual box filled with different blocks (wiki).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo4RvYJYOzI

What really surprises me is the year in which it is programmed. Even today things like SHRDLU are still considered as pure science fiction.
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Art

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Re: SHRDLU - talking to a computer in 70's
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2019, 01:26:47 PM »
Nice find Ivan!

I always loved his program. It was one of those that really got me interested in chatbots and AI, way back in the day. I even exchanged emails with Terry about his program. Today he is Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and Co-Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Group.

He was quite ahead of his time. O0

BTW, the name, SHRDLU were part of the letters in the English language at the time, based on the frequency of usage. ETAOINSHRDLU...etc.
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Don Patrick

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Re: SHRDLU - talking to a computer in 70's
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2019, 04:35:10 PM »
He was also the inspiration for the Winograd Schema Challenge, which among other things featured common sense questions about spatial relations.
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squarebear

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Re: SHRDLU - talking to a computer in 70's
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2019, 09:33:31 AM »
BTW, the name, SHRDLU were part of the letters in the English language at the time, based on the frequency of usage. ETAOINSHRDLU...etc.
Nice fact Art. I didn't know that.
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infurl

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Re: SHRDLU - talking to a computer in 70's
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2020, 07:06:32 AM »
BTW, the name, SHRDLU were part of the letters in the English language at the time, based on the frequency of usage. ETAOINSHRDLU...etc.

Terry Winograd wrote a detailed description of how they came up with the name which he published here.

https://hci.stanford.edu/winograd/shrdlu/name.html

In short, that particular ordering of the letters of the English language was found in the keyboards of the old linotype machines which did not use the more familiar QWERTY keyboard layout. It would sometimes happen that linotype operators needed a bit of random text and it was easiest to just punch out those letters in sequence. As a result, the word SHRDLU occasionally made it into print accidentally.

On a more practical note, who hasn't wanted the chance to talk to SHRDLU themselves? Well it turns out that you can. There is a working version of the program that runs on PCs.

http://hci.stanford.edu/~winograd/shrdlu/download/consoleshrdlu.zip

There is also a lot more information about it on the Shrdlu Resurrection website:

http://maf.directory/misc/shrdlu.html

... and the official website:

http://hci.stanford.edu/~winograd/shrdlu/

It's hard to say whether you'll be amazed or disappointed. It would be smarter than any chatbot you ever saw before, but it's also very buggy.

 


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