Is Eric Asimov a human or a cleverbot?


In the interests of keeping down expenses, has the New York Times replaced a human wine columnist with a cleverbot called Eric Asimov? It certainly looks that way as the last column on Portuguese white wines fails the Turing Test. Take Eric’s convoluted reasoning why Portuguese whites are not popular in the USA.

atur Is Eric Asimov a human or a cleverbot?

It may also be that the Portuguese language poses something of an obstacle for Americans, who may intuitively understand that, say, Italy’s bianco and Spain’s blanco are white wines, but may not make the same linguistic leap when confronted with branco, the Portuguese term for white. Frequently, the response when confronted with such unfamiliar terms is to move on to something more recognizable. 

For heaven’s sake, look at the bottle and you can see it is a white wine. Besides, if New Yorkers understand intuitively that bianco and blanco means white – two words that differ by one letter – surely even a 13 year old boy called Eugene Goostman could guess that branco with a different letter in the same place also means white. Eric’s paragraph must surely win an award for the silliest concept in winespeak this week. Or is Eric Asimov a computer program after all.