I’ve just found out about a chatterbot powered by Anagram Genius called Sternest Meanings.

Whatever you say to it, it responds with a perfect anagram (and thus waits for you to open the conversation, unlike every other chatterbot I’ve seen).

The program is the work of Ian Li who is a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University.

Ian appears to have had it running on internet chat for a while but recently migrated it to the web and someone reported it to digg.com resulting in huge amounts of traffic today. Judging by the comments it looks very popular with their readers. The story easily made it to their front page.

After playing with it, I wondered what would happen if this chatterbot were to put in touch with another, more conventional chatterbot. It seems that the author had exactly the same idea. Ian Li’s blog reports a surreal conversation between an ELIZA like chatterbot and Sternest Meanings which begins:

Eliza: Hi. I’m Eliza. Tell me your problems!
Sternest: Moralize repel humility. Slob me.
Eliza: Perhaps you would like to talk about a problem?
Sternest: Weak, spoutlike, proud tally-ho. Up rambo to able.
Eliza: What does this mean for you, saying “Weak, spoutlike, proud tally-ho Up rambo to able”?
Sternest: Sure-footed, womanish hasty. Up gawky, poetlike dinosaur. Halo to ambulatory pleb.
Eliza: I understand!

AI (Artificial Insanity) at its finest.