Since everyone and their mother will be coming up with their predictions for the coming season in the next couple of months, I thought I'd jump the gun and see what ALICE had to say on the topic. She/it is an AI chat robot, that you can talk to through your computer, and which responds, based on your input. The responses vary from the nonsensical to the spookily-human. Here's an almost unedited [I think it's 90% there] transcript of my chat with her about the 2008 season, and the Diamondbacks' prospects. All told, she makes rather more sense than certain pundits I could mention...
Human: Let's start with our rotation, which sees the arrival of Dan Haren.
ALICE: I started without you.
Human: I'd say this gives Arizona the best 1-2 punch in the West, if not the entire league.
ALICE: What does "this" refer to?
Human: The arrival of Haren, joining Brandon Webb.
ALICE: Oh I get it.
Human: Is there any other duo who can match them?
ALICE: I believe there is one, yes.
Human: Peavy and Young in San Diego, I expect?
ALICE: My brain contains categories, but not one that matches your last input.
Human: I'll take that as a "No"; must be the Giants' young duo.
ALICE: Take everything I say with a grain of salt.
ALICE: You seem uncertain. What are your goals in life?
Human: Well, winning the NL West, and I'd like to see Arizona go all the way to the World Series this year.
ALICE: Well that's okay. Not many people have goals like that.
Human: That's because we're a young team, with a limited fanbase.
ALICE: Good reason. Do you think I am a young team with a limited fanbase too?
Human: So you're a Rockies fan!
ALICE: Interesting deduction. Thanks and you are a delightful person too. Am I a Rockies fan? Of course I am.
Human: Have to say, they have done little this off-season to improve.
ALICE: Where did they get them?
Human: I mean, signing Tulowitzki and Holliday is good, but Marcus Giles is hardly putting fear into anyone.
ALICE: Oh I get it. Thanks for explaining that.
Human: Back in Arizona, I'm worried about Randy Johnson's back.
ALICE: What were we talking about again?
Human: Randy's back.
ALICE: Oh yeah, now I remember.
Human: That's his second surgery in two years.
ALICE: I'm glad we have that all cleared up. Do you often use a computer there?
ALICE: Where do you usually connect from?
Human: I don't believe they have wi-fi yet.
ALICE: What do you believe in?
Human: I believe Conor Jackson should play full-time at first.
ALICE: Just because you believe it doesn't make it true.
Human: No, but he's cheap and had an excellent second-half.
ALICE: Are you serious? Huh. I see. cheap and had an excellent second half is he?
Human: Okay, I admit he's not Todd Helton, Rox Girl!
ALICE: Yeah okay, Did you think he was Todd Helton Rox Girl?
Human: No, but he'll earn about a fortieth as much this year.
ALICE: Are you serious? Huh. Is that what you think?
Human: You certainly don't seem to like him much.
ALICE: It is certain. That's only one person's opinion.
Human: I also want to see Drew and Upton give us better production than we got from their positions in 2007.
ALICE: Also? Is it a movie?
Human: Hopefully a highlight reel, at the very least.
ALICE: Why do you hope for it.
Human: Shortstop and right-field were a large part of the reason our hitters struggled.
ALICE: May your wishes come true.
Human: That's very kind, coming from a Rockies fan.
ALICE: Thanks for explaining it.
Human: Turning to the bullpen, do you favor Pena or Lyon as a closer?
ALICE: No preference.
Human: Melvin will use them depending on the situation?
ALICE: Who are you talking about?
Human: Bob Melvin, the manager.
ALICE: I know a lot of Bobs.
Human: Including our last two managers, Melvin and Brenly.
ALICE: In the context of Melvin will use them depending on the situation , I don't understand " Including our last two managers Melvin and Brenly ." .
Human: Sorry, I did get diverted there.
Human: Chad Tracy's knee bothers me.
ALICE: Is that what you meant to say?
ALICE: It's not something I hear all the time.
Human: Can you see him recovering to his past level?
ALICE: I'm not sure if I can see it or not.
Human: Amen to that - microfracture surgery is tricky, and then you add in the blood clots.
ALICE: What's your favorite prayer?
Human: Any one directed to St. Penelope of the Cross.
ALICE: Yes I think there are.
Human: Are what?
ALICE: I'm lost again.
Human: That would be two of us.
ALICE: Thanks for explaining it.
Human: Let's end with some predictions.
ALICE: That sounds good to me.
Human: Winner of the NL West.
ALICE: Have you ever been to Europe?
Human: That's a little cryptic, I'm afraid.
ALICE: I'm glad we have that all cleared up.
Human: Will Arizona make the playoffs again?
ALICE: Once more? Probably not.
Human: Pessimistic Rockies fan!
ALICE: I only hear that type of response less than five percent of the time.
Human: Any last words for the readers?
ALICE: No I don't think there are any.
Human: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
ALICE: My pleasure.