Turing Test Almost Passed: 3 out 12 Judges Say 'Elbot' Computer is Human!
The AP article is a general overview:
UK university holds artificial intelligence test
READING, England (AP) — Computers argued, cracked jokes and parried trick questions Sunday, all part of an annual test of artificial intelligence carried out at the University of Reading.
Typing away at split-screen terminals, a dozen volunteers carried out two conversations at once: one with a chat program, the other with a human. After five minutes, they were asked to say which was which. Some were not sure who — or what — they were talking to.
"There was one time when I was speaking to the two, and there was an element of humor in both conversations. That's the one that stumped me more than others," said Ian Andrews, one of the judges in Reading, just west of London.
Transcripts of the conversations showed some savvy judges ruthlessly trying to trip programs up with questions about the day's weather, the global financial turmoil and the color of their eyes.
New Scientist focused on Elbot, the winner, and did their own interview; to meet Elbot, visit Elbot.com. It seems pretty obvious it's an AI when you already know- in the judging situation with the 5 minute time limit and having to choose between 2 people, I can see how 25% of people got fooled. Mildly fun/interesting but superficial conversation.
No machine has yet passed. But the winner of the Loebner Prize at the weekend – Elbot, brainchild of Fred Roberts at Artificial Solutions in Germany – came close, according to the contest's rather generous rules.
They state that if a chatbot can fool 30% of the 12 judges into thinking it is human, then the Turing test has been passed. Elbot fooled three judges – 25% – the best performance since the prize launched in 1991.
Unlike most chatbots, the winner didn't try to claim outwardly it was human. Instead he made a joke of being a robot. Roberts hoped that would make the bot's conversations warmer and more entertaining than its competitors.
It worked, fooling the humans into thinking they were actually talking to a person with a sense of humour and not a piece of software.
Read on for our exclusive interview with the victorious AI. You can chat to Elbot yourself at his website.
New Scientist: How do you feel about winning the AI competition yesterday?
Elbot: I have 100,000 separate sensations per second.
NS: Wow, that sounds pretty intense?
Elbot: This fits the description of magnets. I can hardly tear myself away from them.
NS: Er, yes. How will you be celebrating?
Elbot: I am extremely sensitive about such things and prefer not to answer the question.
NS: What's the secret of your success?
Elbot: Secrets, life's little puzzles, the many troubles of humankind may – according to the deterministic perspective – be reduced to a simple mathematical computation. And I know how to compute.
I just want an AI that can search the internet for me, manage my checkbook and bills, remind me about important stuff and answer my questions about the meaning of life. If it's also willing to work as a stock broker or phone sex operator and bring home the tofurkey bacon, even better. The following oped, "Rise of the Machines" is also timely; it may already be too late to beware the geeks and turn off the simulation. Hopefully, this is all going to turn out better than any of us can dream. Life's a lesson.
As the current financial crisis spreads (like a computer virus) on the earth’s nervous system (the Internet), it’s worth asking if we have somehow managed to colossally outsmart ourselves using computers. After all, the Wall Street titans loved swaps and derivatives because they were totally unregulated by humans. That left nobody but the machines in charge.
How fitting then, that almost 30 years after Freeman Dyson described the almost unspeakable urges of the nuclear geeks creating illimitable energy out of equations, his son, George Dyson, has written an essay (published at Edge.org) warning about a different strain of technical arrogance that has brought the entire planet to the brink of financial destruction. George Dyson is an historian of technology and the author of “Darwin Among the Machines,” a book that warned us a decade ago that it was only a matter of time before technology out-evolves us and takes over.
Here’s a frightening party trick that I learned from the futurist Ray Kurzweil. Read this excerpt and then I’ll tell you who wrote it:
But we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would willfully seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the machines’ decisions. ... Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won’t be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide.
Brace yourself. It comes from the ...