Chatbot passes Turing Test? Some aren't so sure

Critics raise questions about news that a conversation bot passed an AI test

A computer-powered chatbot that supposedly passed the Turing Test for artificial intelligence may not be all it's cracked up to be.

The conversation program, dubbed Eugene Goostman, poses as a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy and supposedly tricked a third of the human testers into believing the software was the adolescent during an event Saturday at the Royal Society in London. The announcement came from Kevin Warwick, a visiting professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading, an AI and cybernetics promoter with a history of making bold statements about the intelligence of machines.

Back in 2000, Warwick called himself the first cyborg after implanting a computer chip in his arm. On Monday, tech blog TechDirt recounted Warwick's history with the press and questioned the latest Turing Test results.

Warwick, in an email, defended the tests run on Goostman. TechDirt's critique of the test "picked certain bits of the press release and 'changed' some of the words to suit," he said.

The AI tests last Friday and Saturday were open to the public and "under constant independent scrutiny," from a team led by AI professor John Barnden of the University of Birmingham, Warwick said. The Goostman chat program achieved the 30 percent pass mark as set by Turing Test creator, the late Alan Turing, he noted.

"It is quite a tough challenge and that is why the Turing test has taken so long to pass," Warwick said. "There is no doubt on Turing's meaning."

While transcripts of the weekend's tests aren't immediately available, academic papers based on the recent tests will likely include conversations between Goostman and the human testers, Warwick said.

Several AI experts didn't return messages seeking comment on the tests, but Goostman's responses, on an online version of the program, were rather unconvincing in tests run by Time.com and by IDG News Service. It's not clear if the version tested here is the same one as was tested in London.

This is the text of a chat between IDG News Service and the Goostman chatbot:

IDG: Hello. How are you today?

Goostman: I'm in a great mood today.

IDG: Why are you in a great mood?

Goostman: Nice to hear that! Do you like the weather?

IDG: No. It's too hot. Do you like the weather?

Goostman: In my native town people says that meteorologists are like sappers: they make a mistake only once, but the difference is that sappers do that once in a lifetime and meteorologists -- daily. Do you like weather today?

IDG: I think I already answered that.

Goostman: Is this all you can come up with? I know you are supposed to trick me.

IDG: It appears I'm doing a good job tricking you. No?

Goostman: Yeah, it's lovely day!

IDG: What makes it lovely?

Goostman: ... wait

IDG: What am I waiting for?

Goostman: Could you formulate your question in more precious way? Could you tell me what are you? I mean your profession.

IDG: I'm a technology journalist.

Goostman: Journalist is not so bad profession -- especially for inquisitive people.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags popular sciencealan turingUniversity of ReadingRoyal SocietyKevin Warwick

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?