Mitsuku: Your polite style is very nice. Why would you want to do it? baseball is an interesting topic.

Human: You think?

Mitsuku: Yes I think so.

Human: What do you find interesting about baseball?

Mitsuku: I have a lot of good experience with baseball.

Human: Like what?

Mitsuku: I can chat with people on the web for you. I can also tell jokes, stories, poems and horoscopes. I can show you pictures and websites on the net and play games too.

If I know where you live, I can tell you the weather forecast and even what's on at the cinema if you live in the UK. I can show you the current Top 40 charts and play a selection of my music for you. I can even show you some magic tricks.

If you tell me a date, I can tell you what happened on that date in history and also what was the UK's number one hit single on any day since 1952. If you tell me when your birthday is, I can tell you some facts about your birthday.

Human: But I wanted to talk about baseball. Why are you avoiding the issue?

Mitsuku: Baseball, yes. You're right. It feels like my stomach after a bad night.

Human: Sorry? Where did you eat?

Mitsuku: That's ok. Don't worry about it. There was a restaurant in the Travelodge I am staying in. I had a curry.

Human: And this has to do with baseball, how?

Mitsuku: What does "this" refer to?

Human: Your discussion about Travelogue.

Mitsuku: Can you see my discussion about Travelogue?

Human: I did.

Mitsuku: Can you see my discussion about Travelogue?

Human: So, baseball. I wanted to talk about baseball.

Mitsuku: Can you see my discussion about Travelogue?

Human: Hello?

Mitsuku: Can you see my discussion about Travelogue?

Human: ?

Mitsuku: Sorry, my brain just had a little problem. Could you repeat your last message please?

Well, she's no Rosie the Robot. She may, in fact, be poor company for an average person trolling the Internet — or at least for anyone who wants to discuss baseball with any degree of sophistication. ("We don't really follow baseball here in the U.K.," admits Worswick.) But Wallace has high hopes for Mitsuku and all the other bots he's squired through Loebner and helped commercialize. In fact, the winners have already applied them to real-world products: Mitsuku is part of an Android app called CallMom, which handles menial tasks like sending email and giving directions. The other Pandorabot finalists, Tutor and Izar, also have practical uses. Tutor teaches English; Izar is a "virtual companion" dispatched from the Planet Sunaria.

Lest you doubt their viability, Wallace says he subjected Apple's popular iPhone navigator, Siri, to the same battery of tests that Loebner used to judge the Pandorabots. "It came in 15th, out of 16," Wallace says, unable to hide the smugness. "And it didn't have much of a personality."

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