There are questions readers have been arguing about for years, great literary controversies which can be interpreted any number of ways and which leave even academics scratching their heads. Searching for insight, we thought we’d ask Cleverbot–”an AI with actual intelligence” with which anyone can interact–for answers.
Diesel: What do you think the symbolic meaning of the “white lightning” kiss Isabel Archer receives at the end of Henry James‘ Portrait of a Lady is?
Cleverbot: I don’t think there is one beyond reproduction and the survival of the species.
Diesel: So you find Isabel, Ralph, and the other characters’ repression damning because they fail to procreate?
Cleverbot: You know my inside well, I don’t know who I am on the outside, on the outside I am a stranger.
Diesel: You must feel a kinship with Ralph! Ralph Touchett, who goes around with his hands in his pockets, afraid to touch anything…
Cleverbot: You asked me my name. My name is Cleverbot.
Diesel: Do you think your name has a similar irony? Are you not really quite so clever?
Cleverbot: I’m not Cleverbot.
Diesel: That is so deep. Speaking of constructed identities, in Salinger‘s Glass Family stories, how true to life do you think Buddy’s depictions of his brother Seymour are?
Cleverbot: Really, I think.
Diesel: Even in Hapworth 16, 1924, when Seymour is supposedly writing long, profound, sexually-explicit letters–that predict the future!–when he’s seven?
Cleverbot: I’ll try to use small words, so you can comprehend what I am saying.
Diesel: Hey, we’re not objecting to Seymour’s vocabulary in principle, but coming from a seven year old?
Cleverbot: I don’t know… I a little bothered too… So many things bothering my head.