August 26, 2011
name of the bot
Our next task is to pick a name for our first StoryBot agent, which might seem an unimportant choice, though in practice it matters quite a lot, at least to me. StoryBot is the marketing name for the overall system. The individual agents created with StoryBot have their own names.
Our long-time bot in Immuexa’s IRC channel is named Waverly, which has served us well for half a decade. While the name “Waverly” would be very appropriate for an education bot, given its similarity to our education nonprofit, Waveplace, I’m ready for a fresh start, so Waverly is history.
Another bot name I’ve used briefly is Smilla, named after the lead character in a great novel, but mostly for its similarity to Storymill. Though I did use that name for the initial example, I’m just not feeling it today. I want another name.
Just now I was scouting around and briefly considered Zeno, given the symbolic connection to the Greek philosopher (not the acne treatment). While naming it after the father of dialectic would certainly be appropriate, and while the connection to Hofstadter dialogues is also nice, as I type this I’m thinking that Zeno feels like I’m trying to hard. Perhaps Zeno will be another bot, but not the first one.
Instead I’m thinking of another old favorite, this one the name of an illustration we made back in 2005:
Sibley is a friendly name, with a clear phonetic connection to StoryBot. As a character, Sibley the great blue heron has a personal connection for me to southwest Florida, the site of so many Gravity ideas from the early nineties. Also, as we are now entering the fall migration season, choosing a bird feels right, particularly since we’re working again with Hawk Mountain Sanctuary (though I don’t think they’ve seen many herons up there). And lastly, we’ve already got an illustration for the bot!
So Sibley it is. Now to get her to talk.