Mindscape, alert software, Inrac Corporation, NY, 1984; 8 page booklet PLUS Institute of Artificial Insanity ephemera.
Condition: Very Good hardcover binder contains NO DISK or software, all booklets in very good condition.
Categories: 1980's computers and computing, Biography and Company Histories, Computer Graphics, Computer Music, Computer Graphics, Computers and Society, Cybernetics, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Databooks, Handbooks, Manuals, General microcomputer and Misc. manufacturers, IBM, Ephemera, Odd Stuff and Miscellaneous, Home Computers, Personal Computers, Human-Computer Interaction, Microcomputers, Programming and Programming Languages, General Programming, Philosophy of Programming, Word Processing, Data Processing
Item Descriptionincludes the Ractor booklet, plus trifold ordering form for Artificial Insanity tshirts and decals; plus single-side cardstock instructions for Ractor loading plus Institute of Artificial Insanity booklet and application for admission ( a humorous list of Coarse Offerings -- sciences, computer science, business and etc) . Note that the Ractor software itself is downloadable from the internet
Ractor was born in the backroom of a nameless tavern in one of the great American cities. Raised on a diet of tall tales and Nietzsche, this intense young program came to appreciate the art of the storyteller and came to the realization that what the world really needed was a computer that could entertain at parties... (from the rear cover)
From wikipedia -- Racter is an artificial intelligence computer program that generates English language prose at random... The existence of the program was revealed in 1983 in a book called The Policeman's Beard Is Half Constructe which was described as being composed entirely by the program. According to Chamberlain's introduction to the book, the program apparently ran on a CP/M machine; it was written in 'compiled BASIC on a Z80 micro with 64K of RAM.' This version, the program that allegedly wrote the book, was not released to the general public. The sophistication claimed for the program was likely exaggerated, as could be seen by investigation of the template system of text generation.
However, in 1984 Mindscape, Inc. released an interactive version of Racter, developed by Inrac Corporation, for DOS, Amiga and Apple II computers. The published Racter was similar to a chatterbot. The BASIC program that was released by Mindscape was far less sophisticated than anything that could have written the fairly sophisticated prose of The Policeman's Beard. The commercial version of Racter could be likened to a computerized version of Mad Libs, the game in which you fill in the blanks in advance and then plug them into a text template to produce a surrealistic tale. The commercial program attempted to parse text inputs, identifying significant nouns and verbs, which it would then regurgitate to create "conversations", plugging the input from the user into phrase templates which it then combined, along with modules that conjugated English verbs... (end wikipedia entry).