Turing Test beaten for first time
Computing milestone reached on 60th anniversary of Alan Turing’s death
A computer at London's Royal Society fooled a panel of humans into thinking it was human in an experiment that is being hailed as the first example of a machine passing the Turing Test, the Guardian reported today.
Alan Turing was a British mathematician who built the precursor to the modern computer, earning himself the unofficial title of the Father of Computing. He worked in a key role at Britain's Bletchley Park code-breaking centre during the Second World War and helped to break the Germans' Enigma code system.
Turing also made early contributions to the field of artificial intelligence by devising his Turing Test. A machine could be described as "thinking" if it could convince 30% of human participants that it was human, he proposed.
The Royal Society test took place on Saturday on the 60th anniversary of Turing's death. Software on one machine, in a group of five being tested, managed to convince 33% of human test subjects that it was 13-year-old Eugene Goostman. The successful candidate was built by Russian-born Vladimir Veselov, who lives in the US, and Russia-based Ukrainian Eugene Demchenko.
"In the field of artificial intelligence, there is no more iconic and controversial milestone than the Turing test," said Professor Kevin Warwick, from the University of Reading, which organised the tests.
"It is fitting that such an important landmark has been reached at the Royal Society in London, the home of British science and the scene of many great advances in human understanding over the centuries. This milestone will go down in history as one of the most exciting."
Another candidate for Turing-ready software was demonstrated at the Techniche festival in Guwahati, India in 2011. While it convinced 59.3% of human judges, its architecture was based around a database of real conversations and so many argued that it was not inherently intelligent.