Famous and Infamous Virtual Humans

Here we'll list (and sometimes comment on) some of the more famous (and infamous) virtual humans, and related experiments!

Research Bots


Joseph Weizenbaum's Eliza is probably the "grand-mama" of all chatbots. It was designed to simulate a therapist, and so typically turned each of your statements back at you - a trick that can still work, even if it gets a bit boring after a while.

"Hobby" Bots

Not meant as a perjorative - typically far more interesting than most "commercial" and research bots.


Dr Richard Wallace's A.L.I.C.E. and associated Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML) is the chatbot/language which brought the technology to the masses. It is now manifest primarily as the Pandorabots site (where you can create your own chatbot for free, and hook it up to external systems such as Second Life), the various AIML based bots which have competed in (and won) the Loebner Prize (e.g. Alice herself in 2000, 2001 and Mitsuko in 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018) and the various implementations of AIML in different languages in the Program X series.


Rollo Carpenter's chatbot which garnered a lot of media coverage in the 2000s having won the Loebner in 2005 and 2006. Talk to it at http://www.jabberwacky.com/


Chatscript is Bruce Wilcox's chatbot engine which grew out of the Sony Blue Mars virtual world. Chatscript was used to build the Loebner winners in 2010 (Suzette) and 2011 (Rosette) and 2014/2015 (Rose).

Eugene Goostman

The Eugene Goostman chatbot by Vladimir Veselov, Eugene Demchenko, and Sergey Ulasen won the Royal Society 2014 Turing Test and was declared to have been the first time that a chatbot successfully passed the test. - Can machines think? A report on Turing test experiments at the Royal Society

Commercial Chatbots/Robotars


Tay was the 2016 Microsoft chatbot that gained notoriety when it learnt racial and other obscene views through mimicking its users. See https://www.theverge.com/2016/3/24/11297050/tay-microsoft-chatbot-racist

Ashley Maddison FemBots

Ashley Madison was the dating site which was shown in 2015 to have created 70,000 female chatbots to keep its male membership engaged. See https://gizmodo.com/ashley-madison-code-shows-more-women-and-more-bots-1727613924

Facebook Bots invent a new language

In 2017 two Facebook research bots where briefly famous when they were shutdown since they had "invented their own language". See https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/facebook-artificial-intelligence-ai-chatbot-new-language-research-openai-google-a7869706.html. A more balanced view of what happened at https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/01/facebook-ai-experiment-did-not-end-because-bots-invented-own-language.html



Sophia is an android often not far from the headlines as she addresses the UN, gets citizenship in Saudi Arabia etc. However there does seem to be a lot of smoke-and-mirrors and gullible PR involved - see Facebook’s head of AI research, Yann LeCun's comments.

There's now even a mini-Sophia!

Personal Assistants

The big commercial operators are all staking out claims to the virtual/personal assistant end of the VH space:

  • Alexa (Amazon)
  • Cortana (Microsoft)
  • Siri (Apple)
  • Google Assistant (Google)