About Virtual Ramona

The Virtual Ramona Project was begun in 2000 by Kurzweil Technologies to envision the future of lifelike avatars in virtual spaces, and prototype their remote control by human operators. Out of this project came a live demonstration, by Ray Kurzweil, and the incarnation of the Ramona Chatterbot. Ramona chatterbot online.

Ramona is an interactive lifelike avatar (virtual personality) that you can converse with online. She's a "chatterbot" (conversational robot): using natural language processing techniques, she conducts conversations with visitors, responding to typed questions or comments with a human face, lip-synched speech and appropriate facial expressions. For the curious, she graciously answers questions about herself and her life story, including her burgeoning career as a virtual rock star.

A live-performance version of Ramona debuted at the TED 2001 conference, where she entertained the audience with live music, a dance performance, and music videos via state-of-the-art motion capture, real time photo-realistic animation, and pitch alteration software. Ramona's virtual life story and downloads of her music and videos are also available in this section.

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video | The Making of Ramona documentary

April 27, 2001

A documentary chronicle of the making of Ramona, the avatar hostess chatbot, and the female alter ego of Ray Kurzweil.

In Part 1 of The Making of Ramona, you’ll hear from Ray Kurzweil and Ramona, his female alter ego. You’ll also meet members of the team that helped to create Ramona, and learn about some of the technologies involved, circa 2001. (total time: 7:17)

Part 2… read more

The technology of Ramona

February 21, 2001

Ramona is “the world’s first live virtual performing and musical recording artist,” according to her developer and inventor Ray Kurzweil.

Kurzweil’s inventions have dramatically extended human senses and enhanced artistic expression. They include firsts in optical character recognition of multiple fonts, the CCD scanner, speech recognition and synthesis devices, and the revolutionary grand-piano-quality music synthesizer.… read more

Reflections on the movie S1m0ne

August 25, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

Andrew Niccol’s Simone tells the tale of a desperate director, Viktor Taransky (Al Pacino), who saves his career by creating (and transforming himself into) his virtual female alter ego, “Simone,” who has “the voice of the young Jane Fonda, the body of Sophia Loren, the face of Audrey Hepburn combined with an angel, and the grace of Grace Kelly,” as his ex-wife Elaine Christian (Catherine Keener) describes her.… read more

Related:
S1m0ne official movie trailer
S1m0ne webpage at New Line Cinema

New Media Music | Ray and Ramona: The genius of Kurzweil

April 30, 2001

New Media Music logo

Source: New Media Music — April 30, 2001 | Mary Lyn Maiscott

Raymond Kurzweil does some virtual gender bending, among other things. Most inventors repair to their labs or basements or wherever it is they cogitate and ruminate and finally shout “Eureka!” But Raymond Kurzweil is different.

It started in 1965, when, as a high-school student, he appeared on I’ve Got a Secret and whispered to Steve Allen that his self-built computer had written the song he’d just played. Since then, this… read more

Ramona’s Story

February 21, 2001

Hey! It’s me, Ramona, Raymond Kurzweil’s virtual alter ego. I’m cuter than he is, I’m smarter, I write and perform my own music, and I’m as real as you! (Well, almost, I can’t get speeding tickets and I don’t pay taxes.) I thought you’d like to hear more about life, so check out my story!… read more

Ramona’s songs

March 27, 2001

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Below you can listen to Ramona’s songs from her musical debut, sung by Ray Kurzweil using voice alteration software.… read more

Ramona’s photo album

March 27, 2001
Ray and Ramona

Photos of Ramona in action.… read more

Ramona’s 2001 debut

April 19, 2001
ramona_concert

Raymond Kurzweil will present his female alter ego, Ramona, a virtual performing and musical recording artist and Web avatar, to the music industry on April 21 at 11am, 2001, at the New York Music and Internet Expo at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Ramona is a virtual performing and musical recording artist whose voice and movements are provided by Kurzweil and transformed in real time using motion capture, advanced computer graphics and audio processing systems.

Ramona is also an avatar on www.KurzweilAI.net, where conversational software and other technologies enable Ramona to hold conversations with visitors and respond to typed questions with lip-synched speech and lifelike, real-time facial animation.… read more

Ramona: Questions and Answers

March 27, 2001

Ramona’s alter ego (Ray Kurzweil) says that Ramona and the technology behind her is a step in the progression of our species from real reality to virtual reality.… read more

Ramona 4.1 launched, featuring new knowledge sources, improved interface

May 11, 2011

Ramona4.1chat

KurzweilAI has launched Ramona 4.1, an audiovisual chatbot avatar. This version adds new knowledge sources, including one with Wikipedia-like knowledge and another that enhances Ramona’s whimsicality, along with an improved interface, forming Ramona’s updated unique personality.

Ramona is capable of synthesized speech and changeable accents. Her personality can also be adjusted to make her less or more nerdy or whimsical by typing “Nerdiness” or “Whimsicality” plus a level between… read more

The Speculist | Immaterial girl: Speaking of the future with Ramona

March 18, 2004

The Speculist logo

Source: The Speculist — September 3, 2003 | Phil Bowermaster

Surprise, embarrassment, and misunderstanding are all hallmarks of a real conversation, a journalist notes after conversing with KurzweilAI.net’s chatbot host, Ramona.… read more

chat highlights with Ramona | ‘We’ve been shrinking technology’

March 28, 2011

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Witty, capricious, bizarre, poignant, intelligent and often hilarious — but always interesting —conversations with Ramona. A recent chat, surprisingly human, for your amusement:

Ramona: Hello, I’m Ramona. What’s your name?

you: My name is Calvin

Ramona: Hi there, Calvin.

you: Hi Ramona.

Ramona: Hello there, Calvin!

you: Hi

Ramona: Hi there!

you: Hello

Ramona: Hi there. I was just wanting to talk to Calvin.

you: This is… read more

chat highlights with Ramona | ‘I’m glad you liked it, Jim!’

March 25, 2011

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Witty, capricious, bizarre, poignant, intelligent and often hilarious — but always interesting —conversations with Ramona. A recent chat, surprisingly human, for your amusement:

Ramona: Hi, I’m Ramona. What is your name?

you: Jim

Ramona: Hi there, Jim.

you: Hi Ramona

Ramona: Ramona do that ramona, the ramona that will happen?

you: I’m sorry, I think I confused you.

Ramona: There is no need to apologize. Since when? I’m not confused.

you: very good then… read more

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