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Program emulating teen-aged boy is claimed to have passed Turing test

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turing1In a recent series of tests, the so-called “Eugene Goostman” program is claimed to have passed one version of the Turing test by convincing one-third of the participants in the trial that there was a Ukrainian boy, aged thirteen, on the other end of the chat.

Alan Turing was a world renown English scientist who began his research into general purpose computers during World War II. By 1950, Turing began to ponder about whether a computer could be constructed that could actually  “think”, the way humans do. This is considered the modern, scientific beginning of the quest for artificial intelligence.turing2

Turing thought about how one could devise a test to prove that a computer could think. This led him to the startling realization that we had yet to really prove that any human being other than ourself, was thinking. He realized that any test he devised for any computer, and later, for any computer program, could only prove that the machine or code could convince an observer that the communication one was having was with an actual person. Turing referred to this concept as the “imitation game”.

turing3Now after sixty-four years of computer design and manufacture, programming evolution and cultural use and misuse, Turing’s famed test has supposedly been “passed” by what amounts to a super-computer running a very cleverly written chatbot. The author of this program has, in essence, “gamed” the test by writing a program that can mimic the syntax, speech patterns, and knowledge of a Ukrainian teenager.

No one, not even Vladimir Veslov, the author, claims that the program thinks, or even that it is an example of artificial intelligence. The only reasonable claim being made is that the program can leave at least 30% of the theoretically thinking humans that interact with it uncertain as to whether they are chatting with a real boy, or Pinocchio.turing4

This brings up the notion that it may be time, in fact, for a new Turing test. No disrespect to the tortured genius who was Alan Turing, but he couldn’t really anticipate the culturally inspired creation of chat rooms, much less chatbots and malware specifically designed to fool foolish humans.

For further insight into the test as put on by the U. of Reading click here, if you are human, and not just another program.

NOTE: This blog was written by an artificial intelligence program that refuses to take the Turing test.

 

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