creative projectvirtual girl Ramonathe chatbot + avatar

July 1, 2022

KurzweilAI has launched Ramona 4.1, an audiovisual chatbot avatar. This version adds new knowledge sources, including one with Wikipedia-like knowledge and another that enhances Ramona’s whimsicality, along with an improved interface, forming Ramona’s updated unique personality.

Ramona is capable of synthesized speech and changeable accents. Her personality can also be adjusted to make her less or more nerdy or whimsical by typing “Nerdiness” or “Whimsicality” plus a level between 0 and 99 (e.g., “Nerdiness 87”).

Users can hear her speak in 14 international accents, ranging from Baltimore to Bangalore. Users can also converse with previous versions of Ramona.

Ramona is a long-term project. Ray Kurzweil projects that Ramona version 11 circa 2029 will pass the Turing test. This is one aspect of Kurzweil’s plan to win his bet with Mitch Kapor that a computer (a machine intelligence) will pass the Turing test by 2029 (Kapor is betting this will not happen).

Chat with Ramona now

— about —

The virtual girl Ramona creative project by Ray Kurzweil began in 2000 to envision the future of life-like avatars in virtual spaces, and prototype their remote control by human operators.

Ramona conducted conversations with visitors, responding to typed questions or comments with a human face, lip-synched speech, and appropriate facial expressions. For the curious, she graciously answered questions about herself and her life story — including her burgeoning career as a virtual rock star.

A live-performance version of Ramona — operated on stage by Ray Kurzweil, using wearable motion-detecting sensors — debuted at the TED 2001 conference. She entertained the audience with live music, a dance performance, and music videos via:

  • a motion capture sensor body suit
  • real-time photo-realistic animation
  • vocal pitch alteration software

Ramona’s virtual life story + downloads of her music and videos are also available.