A computer program named “Eugene Goostman” has convinced a third of human judges into thinking it is a 13-year-old boy, becoming the first machine to pass the Turing test, Hannah Furness of The Telegraph reports.
Computer science pioneer and World War II codebreaker Alan Turing created the test in 1950 in a paper which opens with the words: “I propose to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?'”
He argued that if a machine dupes 30% of human participants during a series of chats, then it is exhibiting intelligent behaviour that is indistinguishable from that of a human. Passed that threshold, according to Turing, the idea of a
“thinking machine” would no longer be contradictory.
Eugene Goostman, an artificial intelligence program developed to simulate a 13-year-old boy, convinced 33% of the judges that it was human at the Royal Society in London.
University of Reading Professor Kevin Warwick told the Telegraph that although there have been previous claims of passing the Turing test, this was the first instance where the test “does not set the questions or topics prior to the conversations … We are therefore proud to declare that Alan Turing’s test was passed for the first time.”
Here is the standard interpretation of the Turing Test, in which the interrogator (Player C) is tasked with trying to determine which player – A or B – is a computer and which is a human based on responses to written questions.
Warwick added that having computers with this level of intelligence has ”implications for society” and would serve as a ”wake-up call to cybercrime.”
Turing studied mathematics and later taught quantum mechanics at Cambridge University, where he developed and proved the idea that automatic computation cannot solve all mathematical problems. The concept, known as the Turing machine, is the basis for the modern theory of computation.
Despite helping the Allies win WWII, Turing was arrested for being gay in January 1952.