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What is Smarterchild

Smarterchild was an automated bot that existed for AOL Instant Messenger users to use that could simulate having a conversation with a real person. It was very popular in the beginning of the 21st century, and at one point had over 20 million friends on its buddy list. However, then advertisements began appearing in its messages and it began to lose the features or "intelligence" it once boasted, so by 2008, its "brain" was "retired." [1]

How does this relate to class?

In our class we constantly talked about how humans interact with technology, and in many works read in class, humans interact with technology. In a few of the stories, characters actually chat with various AI on computers, in place of chatting with real people. This is essentially what Smarterchild is; an AI that people talked to instead of interacting with real people. Talking to a computer instead of people, as Sherry Turkle has researched, can have negative effects on development of social skills in people's lives; as a result, this is a very important topic to study.


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