Some computer scientists believe that “Eugene Goostman” may have overcome the famous hurdle proposed by Alan Turning, by cracking the eponymous Turning Test. Eugene is a 13 year-old Ukrainian “boy” constructed from computer algorithms designed to feign intelligence and mirror human thought processes. During a text-based exchange Eugene managed to convince his human interrogators that he was a real boy — and thus his creators claim to have broken the previously impenetrable Turing barrier.
Other researchers and philosophers disagree: they claim that it’s easier to construct an artificial intelligence that converses in good, but limited English — Eugene is Ukrainian after all — than it would be to develop a native anglophone adult. So, the Turning Test barrier may yet stand.
From the Guardian:
From 2001: a Space Odyssey to Her, the idea of an intelligent computer that can hold conversations with humans has long been a dream of science-fiction writers, but that fantasy may just have taken a step closer to becoming reality. On Saturday, a computer algorithm claiming to be a 13-year-old boy called Eugene Goostman passed the Turing test, it has been claimed. However, some commentators have suggested that pretending to be a 13-year-old Ukrainian child is not as difficult as pretending to be an Anglophone adult, and that the result should not count.
The program convinced 33% of the human judges at an event at the Royal Society that it was actually a human. The Turing test, which was devised in 1950 by the pioneering computer scientist and second wold war codebreaker Alan Turing is a classic benchmark in artificial intelligence – it determines a machine’s ability to show intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.
Transcripts of the conversations from the latest Royal Society test are not yet available but below are transcripts from a previous event at Bletchley Park on 23 June 2012, with the same program.
Can you tell Eugene isn’t human?
[12:43:37] Judge: Hi, I’m Cathy.
[12:43:43] Eugene: Cathy! Nice to meet you! You’re a woman, if I’m not mistaken.
[12:44:20] Judge: Right. What is your name?
[12:44:29] Eugene: People call me Eugene. Or “Zhenya”. It is a short name for Eugene in Russia and Ukraine.
[12:45:17] Judge: Nice name. Are you from either area?
[12:45:41] Eugene: Agree Oh, what a fruitful conversation;-)
[12:45:52] Judge: Do you really think so?
[12:46:04] Eugene: No, your guess was wrong. I don’t think so. By the way, I still don’t know your specialty – or, possibly, I’ve missed it?
[12:46:56] Judge: What speciality? What’s yours?
[12:47:01] Eugene: Huh? And I forgot to ask you where you are from.
[12:47:51] Judge: The universe and you?
[12:48:01] Eugene: Is it your hobby to ask little poor Jewish boys such tricky questions they don’t have an answer for?
[16:11:25] Judge: what music do you like?
[16:11:32] Eugene: I like Eminem – because he doesn’t have a thing to do with “polite correctness”.
[16:11:46] Judge: OMG i love eminem, he’s my favourite artist!
[16:12:00] Eugene: I wonder what Eminem’s nick mean. I associate it only with a word “enema”. But he is a cool guy, I like his The Real Slim Shady.
[16:12:55] Judge: i know what his nickname means, his real name is Marshall Mathers. From the initials M&M phynetically sounding like Eminem.
[16:13:06] Eugene: Eminem is a famous crapper. No, raper… ripper… Yeah, I mean – rapper. I like his Stan and The Real Slim Shady.
[16:13:32] Judge: I like Hailies Song.
[16:13:46] Eugene: Interesting tastes. I like science-fiction books, by the way. Where do you came from, by the way? Could you tell me about the place where you live?
[16:14:22] Judge: Epsom, home of the derby. yourself?
[16:14:27] Eugene: My guinea pig says that name Derby sounds very nice.
[16:14:41] Judge: i shopuld [sic] talk with him sometime.
[16:14:48] Eugene: I think you should take some typing lessons. Or just type more accurately.
[16:15:04] Judge: That’s very rude.
[16:15:09] Eugene: Ummm … Frankly, I didn’t get your question
[16:15:49] Judge: “Ummm” isnt a word. i think you need typing lessons
[16:15:58] Eugene: My thoughts are same. By the way, I still don’t know your specialty – or, possibly, I’ve missed it?
[16:06:31] Judge: Hi there, do you prefer to wear a dress or trousers to work?
[16:06:37] Eugene: I am a scholar. I’m too young to make money.
[16:07:32] Judge: What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
[16:07:38] Eugene: Huh? Could you tell me what are you? I mean your profession.
[16:08:11] Judge: I am an IT manager, and you?
[16:08:16] Eugene: Manager? So how is it to work as manager?
[16:09:13] Judge: Hard work but rewarding, what do you do?
[16:09:18] Eugene: I am only 13, so I’m attending school so far.
[16:09:51] Judge: Have you seen teletubbies?
[16:10:04] Eugene: No, I haven’t seen it, unfortunately. But I hope it is better than these crappy Star Wars. And I forgot to ask you where you are from …
[16:10:15] Judge: Brighton, and you?
Read the entire story and Eugene’s conversation with real humans here.
Image: A conversation with Eugene Goostman. Courtesy of BBC.