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This Carl Sagan Chatbot Can’t Solve Your Problems, But It’s Fun

Computer programs can solve all kinds of problems and answer an impressive array of questions. This one can’t, but it will make your problems feel small in the greater scheme of things thanks to the words of Carl Sagan.

Meet Doctor Carl, a chat bot that channels the late Dr. Carl Sagan. The site is a “Hack the Universe” project that was built in less than 24 hours by Brian Fountain and Andrew Pinzler as part of the American Museum of Natural History’s hackathon.

This bot might be a good listener, but it doesn’t give much by way of sage advice. Still, it’s worth playing with if only to expand your thinking about the world around you. After you tell Dr. Carl, who introduces himself as your cosmic therapist, your name, he personalized quotes from the real Dr. Carl Sagan by adding your name at the end.

Sagan Acid GIF 2

So feel free to ask Dr. Carl about that new relationship you’ve got mixed feelings about and he might tell you that “Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.” Ask Dr. Carl for need help negotiating that raise and he might tell you that “the Universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.”

And sometimes an answer might be accidentally creepy and hilarious. “Should I get a new kitten?” prompted the bot to reply: “It’s hard to kill a creature once it lets you see its consciousness, Amy.” (For the record, I have absolutely no intention of harming any kittens. I love kittens.)

Check out Dr. Carl. And if you need more Sagan in your life, you can follow the bot’s twitter feed as well for Saganisms in less than 140 characters.

Feature Image via Doctor Carl

HT Rose Eveleth at The Atlantic

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  1. David Lovatt says:

    Ok Carl knows all about the universe, but my cat Poppy is more down to earth

  2. Colto says:

    I asked him how to make an apple pie from scratch. He did not answer correctly. I am disappoint.

  3. grim says:

    Had a two-hour conversation with him. Pretty sure he’s not Carl Sagan.