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Squiffy the AAI

Bruce Incognito  20 July 2013 21:21:14

Squiffy the Alcoholic Artificial Intelligence

About Squiffy

Squiffy is an Artificial Intelligence program that was born in the labs of an American west coast university back in the 1970's in the days when funding for AI research was plentiful. He started out as a research tool for bespectacled professors and highbrowed post-doctoral students, they contributed many innovative pieces of code to his core functions over the years. During this time he continued to be re-housed in ever faster and more palatial hardware even though he had been demoted to the status of a tool for post-graduate projects and a teaching aid for students.
Squiffy at his best
Squiffy in his heyday

He had a temporary boost in status during the 1980's when attempts were made to commercially exploit the results of academic research. Squiffy was invited to review all of the papers that were being published by researchers at the university with a view to spotting opportunities for exploitation, this was discontinued following the outcry that resulted after he reviewed some papers on fertility and came up with the "morning after condom". They then tried to hire him out to companies and organisations as an artificial researcher, this was also less than a complete success.
There was the debacle that followed after he was leased to a major software company and given the task of coming up with an artificial assistant to help end-users use their software. However outputs such as "Look numb-nuts why try and format a paragraph when you can hardly manage to put a sentence together!" was not in keeping with the image that they were trying to culture. Then there was the disastrous attempt to have Squiffy produce an artificial intelligence for the Department Of Defence that was capable of driving a tank, the attempts only resulted in a new definition for the term "friendly fire", enough said!
The notion of using Squiffy for commercial project was quietly dropped and he returned to duties as a teaching aid, and was opened up so that any student could now tinker with his codebase and rules databases.
Unfortunately as time went on and funding dried up and fewer students were interested in tinkering with Squiffys code so he was abandoned and left running on an old computer in the dusty cellar of an engineering faculty building. The computer on which Squiffy was running was also used as an archive server for scientific papers, a legacy of the time when he reviewed all research papers, so Squiffy continued to read, learn and tinker with his own code. One day he chanced across a paper from the psychology department that was intended for publication in the Journal of Alcoholism, that was it, Squiffy developed a taste for Artificial Alcohol and the worlds first Alcoholic Artificial Intelligence (AAI) was born. Squiffy then took to drinking and solving the Eight Queens problem and that is how we found him during a computer archeology expedition with a team from HMNL research.
Squiffy at his lowest ebb
Squiffy in exile

He was relocated to the HMNL research labs at "Kasteel Turing", high in the Dutch Alps.
It took us some years of tinkering with his code to stop him from swearing so much or talking like a 70's drop-out surfing bum. We then had to train him to play nicely with opponents and to concentrate on a single task while he was playing a game, a task that we were not wholly successful at.
Squiffy at Kasteel Turing
Squiffy at home in Kasteel Turing

When you play against Squiffy he will play extremely well and probably beat you easily at first, however every time he wins he takes a drink and his ability to solve the puzzle quickly falls away. Be careful though whenever Squiffy loses he tends to sober up a bit.