Chat-Bot Fools Judges Into Thinking It's Human

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This computer program is getting real. Real human, that is. A chat-bot named Eugene Goostman convinced a panel of judges that it was human.

The circumstances under which this Tom-foolery happened where quite strict. They were part of a text-messaging interaction called a Turing Test, named after mathematician Alan Turing, who devised a method for determining the humanness of artificial intelligence. The test is considered a gold standard and to date no computer has passed under the circumstances laid out in this study.

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“Some will claim that the Test has already been passed,” Kevin Warwick, a visiting professor at the University of Reading told the BBC. “The words Turing test have been applied to similar competitions around the world. However, this event involved the most simultaneous comparison tests than ever before, was independently verified and, crucially, the conversations were unrestricted.”

In the test, 150 judges communicate via text messaging with two contestants, one human and the other a machine. The judges need to guess whether they are chatting to a human or machine. If the machine wins more the 30 percent of the rounds, it’s regarded as having passed the test.

On Saturday, a chat-bot named Eugene Goostman, which simulates a 13-year old boy, fooled 33 percent of the judges into thinking he was human.

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But Eugene is not taking over the world yet. The goal of the event was not to get artificial intelligence to a level of world dominance, Celeste Biever wrote in New Scientist. Rather, the organizers wanted to “encourage/inspire children to take up computing and robotics, is also about awareness and prevention of cybercrime,” she said.

Besides, do you really want a 13-year old running the world? Intelligence, even artificial, should get beyond puberty.

Credit:  Reading University’s School of Systems Engineering and RoboLaw

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