Computer program Eugene Goostman passes Turing Test
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Eugene Goostman is being heralded as a milestone in technology. Eugene is a computer program which has managed to convince 33% of judges at the Royal Society in London, that it is a real life 13 year-old boy from the Ukraine.

At an event hosted by the University of Reading, Eugene Goostman became the first computer to pass the Turing Test and convince judges it was human though a text conversation.

Eugene was created by Russian Vladimir Veselov and Ukrainian Eugene Demchenko. Veselov told the Guardian the results are „a remarkable achievement for us and we hope it boosts interest in artificial intelligence and chatbots.“

What is the Turing Test?

In his 1950 paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence, computing pioneer Alan Turing predicted that in fifty years computers would be able to dupe humans into thinking they were real 30% of the time.

To pass the test, computers must be able to maintain a five minute keyboard conversation with a human to demonstrate ‘intelligence’.

The test was administered by professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading, Kevin Warwick, on the 60th Anniversary of Turing’s death. The test followed the guidelines of a true Turing test whereby the questions and topics from judges are not predetermined.

The judges, which included actors Robert Llewellyn and Lord Sharkey test five computers including other simulators such as Cleverbot and Elbot.

Criticism

The breakthrough has also been met by skepticism, with the Huffington Post and TechDirt suggesting that it is the media are the ones being duped in this situation.

If the computer was simulating a 13 year old boy from the Ukraine who was not speaking in his native language, the judges expectations would be automatically lowered and broken english would be anticipated rather than criticised.

Further criticism was published in a New York Times blog post by Gary Marcus, Professor of Cognitive Science at NYU.

“Almost nobody in A.I. these days seems to aim for what Alan Turing himself envisioned—a flexible, general-purpose intelligence of the sort that human beings have, which allows any ordinary individual to master a vast range of tasks, from tying his shoes to holding conversations and mastering tenth-grade biology.”

While many computers can complete predetermined tasks rapidly and effectively, they have not yet mastered the flexibility of real intelligence.

Stevan Harnad, professor of cognitive sciences at the University of Quebec in Montreal also spoke to the Guardian, stating „It’s nonsense, complete nonsense“.

Scientists are speaking out about the issue stating that there is still a lot of work to be done in the area of artificial intelligence.

The transcripts of the weekend’s conversation have not yet been made public, but an older version of Eugene Goostman is available to test here.

 

Feature image: woman and robot’s hands as a symbol of connections between people and technology via Shutterstock. Copyright:Willyam Bradberry

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