Leo is the successor to CoLIN, the first chatterbot developed by Alan J. Brown. CoLIN has over 3000 users, an ardent internet fan base and interest from the US military. It is also the subject of academic study, most notably the machine literature course of Santa Barbera University.‚
Alan: "People often viewed CoLIN as a pet. Something they could nurture and play with. A bit like a virtual Furby."
However CoLINs limited capabilities made it little more than an interesting toy.
Leo, while built on CoLINs technology, is so advanced that it will be entered in this years Loebner competition. This awards a prize to the first computer that can fool a human into thinking that they are talking to another human. This is known as the Turing test, based on Alan Turing's statement that such a machine would be intelligent. Sufficiently trained, this prize is well within Leos reach.
Alan: "In the past people thought that if a machine could beat humans at chess then it would be intelligent. Deeper Blue beat Kasparov with nothing more than powerful data processing. Leo is to the Turing test what Deeper Blue was to chess."
Alan J. Brown is a full time programmer based in Glasgow. He started off in the now defunct Internet Cafe on Sauchiehall Street before moving to his current job. CoLIN and Leo were developed in his spare time. Despite the sophistication of Leo, Alan never trained as a programmer, instead choosing to study Film and TV at James Watt College in Greenock. Alans goal for Leo is to write a version that can be incorporated into other peoples software, such as games and internet applications.