Meet the first computer to pass the Turing Test

Alan Turing designed the Turing Test in 1950 to assess artificial intelligence by measuring how well a machine engages with humans—if the machine manages to hold a conversation that is similar or equivalent to that of a person, it passes the test.

Researchers in Russia invented a computer program dubbed "Eugene Goostman". Eugene acts like a 13-year-old who has English as a second language and on June 7, 2014, it took the Turing Test at the Royal Society in London, where it convinced 33 percent of the judges that it was a teenage boy, reports Andrew Griffin over at The Independent.

This is the first computer to successfully pass the iconic test.

“Our main idea was that he can claim that he knows anything, but his age also makes it perfectly reasonable that he doesn’t know everything,” said Vladimir Veselov, one of Eugene’s creators, to Griffin. “In the field of Artificial Intelligence there is no more iconic and controversial milestone than the Turing Test, when a computer convinces a sufficient number of interrogators into believing that it is not a machine but rather is a human. Having a computer that can trick a human into thinking that someone, or even something, is a person we trust is a wake-up call to cybercrime.”

Before we start worrying about robots taking control over the world, let’s breathe in and check the numbers carefully. Eugene did pass the test, but he only convinced 33 percent of the judges (that is 1 in 3), reports Gizmodo. We should also remember that it was acting as a non-native-English-speaking teenager, so the judges may have been a bit more forgiving. Let’s also remember that Turing Test’s rules stipulate that a computer may pass the exam if it is mistaken for a human more than 30 per cent of the time.

Also as io9 kindly reminds us: Eugene Goostman is a chatbot, a computer program, not a supercomputer. So rest assure, the robots won’t ploy a coup against humanity any time soon.

*Update 10 June 2014: TechDirt has some more information on chatbot and its Turing Test attempt that makes the story even more interesting.*

Source: The Independent via Gizmodo, and io9