Monday, June 27, 2005

Psychoanalyst fails the Turing test

Dilip wrote an article about AI and thinking computers, in his post about the Turing test. Upon reading it, I remembered that XEmacs (which is my default editor because of all the terrific features which are loaded into it) comes with an inbuilt Psychoanalyst game. It had been a long time since I played it, so I gave it a shot. The outcome was hilarious. See for yourself. Entries in Cyan represent the Pshycho(analyst) while Orange statements are mine. I tried to behave like an angry person. Great fun, I should do it more often.

I am the psychotherapist. Please, describe your problems. Each time
you are finished talking, type RET twice.
I am depressed.
Are you depressed often?
Why not?
I just am not!
Why do you say you just are not?
Because I just am not! Jeez!!
Is it because you just are not jeez that you came to me?
Surely not.
Earlier you said you felt depressed?
Yes, you moron.
Maybe your plans have something to do with this.
No, my plans are fine...
Is it because of your life that you say your plans are fine?
No, because I possess enough intelligence to know when things have
worked according to plans and when they have not.
Does it bother you that you possess enough intelligence to know when
things have worked according to plans and when they have not?
No, that is the least of my worries.
When did you first know that is the least of your worries?
Go to hell, you quack!
I would appreciate it if you would watch your tongue!
YOU watch your tongue.
You mentioned that you just are not jeez?
No, Einstein, that is one of the side remarks.
Is the fact that is one of the side remarks the real reason?
I'm out of here.
Is it because of the people you hang around with that you are going
through all this?
My secretary will send you a bill.
Yeah, but I won't pay any bills.
Does the fact that you will not pay any bills explain anything else?
You figure it out, genius.
What makes you believe I figure it out genius?
Can you elaborate on that?
Bye bye.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Minimalistic pots (does not refer to small doses of marijuana)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I wonder whether people will like this post

When I was younger, in college, and in love with a girl (whom now I can't imagine being married to), I used to wait for the Sunday Times eagerly. The first thing I used to check were the comics, always the comics. Next, the cryptic clues for the Sunday crossword. Then, I used to go through the weekly forecast for my sun sign (which is Aquarius, by the way, explaining why people find me weird), to find out whether my beloved would visit me that particular week, and the possibility of amassing wealth by death of a distant rich uncle. Somehow, it was important to know whether I could expect the oil prices to go up in the coming week (yes), whether I would score well in any of the surprise quizzes mercilessly unleashed on us by sadistic professors (no), whether I was going to be the only person the world would look up to to save them from certain doom (no), whether lord Ganesh was thirsty for milk that week (only once), and whether my friend Kapil Gulati would ever smile (no).

Over the years, though, I have become wiser. I no longer want to know what the future has in store for me. The uncertainty of life has its own charm. It makes me wonder.

I wonder whether I will live to a ripe old age or die young and leave behing a good looking corpse.

I wonder whether, fifteen years from now, I will tell my daughter that I am one of the best in my field, or whether I will change the topic when she asks me what I do for a living. I wonder whether I will be able to convince my wife to name her (the fictitious daughter, not the wife) Sadaa. I wonder whether my wife and I will quarrel over whose surname she (the daughter, again, not the wife) takes.

I wonder whether I will ever beat Rohit at tennis and claim the bounty of five pints of beer which my wife has declared.

I wonder whether my company will ever do well enough to have overseas offices, or whether I will shut it down in some time and work as a brilliant yet unmotivated software programmer in a large MNC. I wonder whether I will stick to software development at all or take up electronics, photography, or agriculture.

I wonder whether I will have the good fortune of having octogenarian parents, or whether the end is near. I wonder whether my parents will ever understand (or already know) that, even thought I have never put it in words, I love them dearly. More, even, than beer and tennis.

I wonder whether I will ever get my knee fixed and try and run the mile in less than 5:45 again. I wonder whether I can still do it, having aged and all that.

I wonder whether, when the end comes, it will be painful. I wonder how long the people who miss me will do so.

I wonder whether our country will ever shake itself loose of shackles and become a great nation, even a reasonable one, and whether I will live to see that day.

I wonder whether the golden age of Rock music will come back, and whether Led Zeppelin will go down as the greatest band in my books or whether someone else will be able to displace them.

I wonder how many people truly like me. I wonder how I will react when I come to know the names of people who pretend to like me but actually don't. I wonder whether I will give explanations or try and reconcile with the reality, or whether I will proclaim that those people never had good taste anyway.

I wonder about grandiose things like the meaning of life, and I wonder about the mundane things like whether I will give in to the temptation and buy the shirt I saw displayed in a boutique.

I wonder whether the so called wrong things that I have done in life were really wrong. I wonder if I will do them again if I had the chance, knowing what I know now about right and wrong.

I wonder a lot. Thank God for uncertainty.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Here's my dad.
Look at dad.
I've seen him grow old, he's watched me grow.
We've both been proud of each other.
I think...
He is a happy man.
because I am happy.
Such is parenthood.
He never played sports, sang, drew paintings or acted.
yet he is my hero.
Because he is an honest man, has always been.
We needed more of his kind.

Here's to papa...

Monday, June 06, 2005

So you want to know what I have been reading, do you?

These gentlement did: Anand, Dilip and Mandar. Curses galore on you, folks, curses galore...

Why? Because of one of more of the following reasons:
i) I don't read as much these days and being tagged was a rude reminder of that.
ii) Just when I thought I was over the compulsion of talking about myself endlessly, someone brings up the topic once again. Anyone interested in helping me found the Pune chapter of Narcissuses Anonymous? Oh, come on, at least the name sounds cool.
iii) Because I am bad at choosing favourites. As an example, if you asked me to pick a number between 11 and 13, I would pick 12, then change my mind and pick 11, and probably finally settle on 13. I am just very bad at making up my mind.
iv) It involves thinking, and remembering. Two things I don't like to indulge in, unless absolutely necessary for my survival. Some crazy Frenchman once said that he thought therefore he was. My humble advice to him -- please don't think too much, go get a pint.

Anyway, the three gentlemen referred to above have started making threatening phone calls to me already (or maybe it is my landlord for the rent due... I am not very discerning), so here goes.

Total number of books I own: I honestly don't know. Furthermore, my wife tells me that I don't own anything anymore and whatever was mine during my singularity is no longer so; therefore you should probably ask her. But, between the two of us, we have a lot of love. No, wait, I meant to say that between the two of us we own many books,

Last book I bought: The motorcycle diaries. Actually I bought Real Analysis by Royden after that, but I don't think it qualifies as a book -- it is a weapon of mass instruction.

Last book I read: Well, the last book I finished was Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clarke, thanks to a bet that I made with Senthil in which he claimed that I wouldn't be able to put the book down once I started. He technically lost, since I put the book on the floor while I read it, but I did finish it in one go.

Five books that mean a lot to me: I will just list books which I like, you pick up five from them.

o Rebecca and My cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier. I like to name both together because it is truly amazing that the same person could write two such astonishing books (from the point of view of two genders), and still get it right. I read both of them in single sessions, though I did put them down once in a while.

o Rendezvous with Rama for the amazing combination of deductive and predictive logic and the art of storytelling. Not a wasted word, not an extra sentence in this book.

o Paddy Clarke Ha, Ha, Ha and The Van by Roddy Doyle for such a smooth, yet not very ornate, language which he uses to describe life in small town Ireland.

o Any of the 43 (yes, f-o-r-t-y t-h-r-e-e) western novels by Louis l'Amour which I read when I was an adolescent. I loved how he combined common sense and poor man's philosophy with an exciting description of tough, yet glamourized, cowboy life. Cowboys talked tough, and I liked that. My parents did the same, and I hated that.

o All of Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes digests that I have. I do have to take a stand and proclaim that I prefer the simplicity of Peanuts to Calvin and Hobbes humour, even if you drop a brick or unleash a gully-cat on me.

o One by Richard Bach. In hindsight, it is probably just high flying philosophy, but I love it. I loved that book five years back, and I love it now. Something about believeing in yourself, ladies and gentlemen, which gives me goosebumps.

o To kill a mockingbird because of the simple description of life from a child's viewpoint. The god of small things for the same reason.

o Old man and the sea because of the matter of fact way it is.

o The hindi translation of a Maksim Gorky book called mera bachpan which used to fascinate me when I was a kid. It was my first peek into a foreign culture and left me spellbound.

o The story of a real man, another translation of a book by Boris Polevoi about Alexei Maersyev, a Russian WW-I pilot whose plane crashed behind enemy lines. He had to drag himself through snow for eighteen days before he got home, and he lost both legs to gangrene. He got prosthetic legs and flew again, after much struggle. He was my first hero, and much of what I am is influenced by the uncountable times I browsed through that book. I mean, the fact that I drag things around is probably because of that book.

Well, this is all I can remember right now, but seems like was able to name five books. I deserve a pat on my back and a beer. At this time of the night, I don't think I can expect either. Bye.