Advisory Board

Professor John A. Barnden

The MIT Technology Review article How To Be Human: Call centers might be able to teach “chat bots” a thing or two about passing the Turing Test said

To give his bots an extra boost, he’s turning to call-center data. Carpenter has begun working with a firm in Japan, and if his plan succeeds, he says his “chat bots” may eventually be able to take over the roles of human operators.
This sort of statistical brute force approach to artificial intelligence has a lot of promise, says John Barnden, an AI researcher at the University of Birmingham, U.K., and one of the judges at this year’s Loebner Prize, which was held in London. “There is enough evidence to suggest that it’s worth trying.” However, it won’t be easy, he says. While Barnden suspects that training a bot on call-center data will work for an automated program designed to handle customer calls, it will probably take a broader range of knowledge and data to make it pass the coveted Turing Test, or at least the Loebner Prize version of it…
Carpenter will have to be careful, though, Barnden says; not only will a call-center chat bot have to be capable of managing the emotions of customers, it also will have to do so without resorting to the abusive language sometimes used by human callers.

Professor John A. Barnden, Ph.D. is Professor of Computer Science, The University of Birmingham, U.K. His research is within Artificial Intelligence and is focused on understanding metaphorical utterances and representing and reasoning about mental states of agents.
John coedited Analogy, Metaphor, and Reminding, Metaphor and Artificial Intelligence: A Special Double Issue of Metaphor and Symbol, High-Level Connectionist Models, Analogical Connections, and coauthored Varieties and Directions of Inter-Domain Influence in Metaphor, Domain-Transcending Mappings in a System for Metaphorical Reasoning, Reasoning in Metaphor Understanding: The ATT-Meta Approach and System, An Implemented Context System that Combines Belief Reasoning, Metaphor-Based Reasoning and Uncertainty Handling and Artificial Intelligence, Mindreading and Reasoning in Law. Read a full list of his publications!
John earned a B.A. with First Class Honors in Mathematics from Cambridge University (Trinity College), England, 1971. He earned a Diploma in Computer Science (a Master’s level degree) from Cambridge University (Computer Laboratory), 1972. And he earned a D.Phil. (equivalent of Ph.D.) from Oxford University (Programming Research Group), England, 1976.
Examine his databank of examples of metaphors of mind in real text and speech!