March 5, 2002

Does the future of AI belong to open source Java programs?

Author: JT Smith

Michael Rice writes "

Upstart Natural Machine is taking a chance by giving the future of artificial intelligence (AI) to open source Java programmers. In an era when the open source business model is still unproven, Natural Machine is releasing the core of its flagship product, Verbal AI ( under the open source project name of Ai Kernel (AIK) ( The company feels the rewards will come from leveraging the shared knowledge of thousands of AI enthusiasts and academia to expand its capabilities in key areas of research such as neural networks, Bayesian networks, natural language processing (NLP) and other computational linguistics. The AIK can be used in conversational computing, robotics, and other advanced computer technologies.

"From the beginning, in 1999, I wanted to release Verbal AI as an open source project, and I think weve found a way to do it," said Michael Rice, Natural Machines founder and chief software engineer. Today, the product is the engine behind Verbal AIs prompt and respond computing model -- combining artificial intelligence, automatic speech recognition (ASR), text to speech (TTS) and VoiceXML technologies.

The AIK is hosted on the leading platform for collaborative open source development, Sourceforge at and is currently available for free download. As part of the open source effort, the company is currently recruiting assistance from the Java developer community for help in the project.

Additionally, the company has released its latest version of Verbal AI for free download at ("

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