Human-like? Chatterbot successfully forges 13yo’s behavior in Turing Test

Reuters / Alessia Pierdomenico
A computer program has managed to convince programmers it was a thirteen year old boy, making it the first algorithm ever to pass the Turing Test – devised to assess artificial intelligence and determine if it is distinguishable from a human being.

‘Eugene Goostman’ fooled 33 percent of judges into thinking that it was human in a test, organized by the University of Reading, conducted at the Royal Society in London. The test requires that at least 30 percent of interrogators be swindled into thinking a machine is a real human being.

The University of Reading termed the event a historic milestone.

“In the field of Artificial Intelligence there is no more iconic and controversial milestone than the Turing Test, when a computer convinces a sufficient number of interrogators into believing that it is not a machine but rather is a human,” said Professor Kevin Warwick, a Visiting Professor at the University of Reading.

Vladimir Veselov. Photo credit: University of Reading

Goostman’s creators include Vladimir Veselov, who was born in Russia and now lives in the United States, and Ukrainian born Eugene Demchenko who lives in Russia.

Veselov, who graduated from graduated from Mozhaisky Military Space Engineering Institute in St Petersburg, said: “It's a remarkable achievement for us and we hope it boosts interest in artificial intelligence and chatbots.”

The chatbot - or 'Artificial Conversational Entity' - debuted in 2001 and among its features lists advance pattern matching language, context sensitive pattern matching, and random or defined responses.

In 2012, ‘Cleverbot’ creator Rollo Carpenter said that Veselov had given his bot a specific personality, rather than conversations being an amalgamation of other people’s typed sentences. “He has created very much a person where Cleverbot is everybody,” Carpenter told New Scientist.

However, Warwick warned of the ominous impact it could have on cybercrime and online security.

“The test has implications for society today. Having a computer that can trick a human into thinking that someone, or even something, is a person we trust is a wake-up call to cybercrime. The Turing Test is a vital tool for combating that threat,” he said in a press-release.

The Turing Test is based on 20th century mathematician and code-breaker Alan Turing's question and answer game set out in his 1950 paper ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’. Turing is renowned for cracking “The Enigma Code” during World War II.

Warwich said that there had been previous claims the Turing Test had been passed in comparable situations worldwide. However, he stated that a “true Turing Test does not set the questions or topics prior to the conversations.”

Screen Still:

RT asked Eugene Goostman some questions and got 33% convinced

RT:How do you feel about your newfound fame?

EG: I feel about my newfound fame in quite convenient way. Nothing original. And I forgot to ask you where you are from...

RT:I am from England, but living in Russia – where are you from?

EG: I live in a big Ukrainian city called Odessa. It is on the Black Sea shore.

RT:And are your parents proud?

EG: Oh, my parents... They are but ordinary people, sure!

RT:Do you work?

EG: I am only 13, so I'm attending school so far.

RT:What do you study?

EG: Is it "the third degree"? I'm not going to answer such a provocative question!

RT:Do you like science?

EG: I wouldn't want to be a scientist - in science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs. So that, science is unfair thing a-priori.

RT:Do you have any heroes?

EG: No, I haven't any heroes! How could you imagine such a trash! Wonna ask me something more?

RT:What about Vladimir Veselov?

EG: Vladimir is a thirty fifth name of Shiva, if you didn't know that.

RT:Add 8437 to 76359.

EG: Damn! I've just recalled that I didn't feed my guinea pig this morning. Poor animal!

RT:Please write me a sonnet on the subject of the Forth Bridge.

EG: Oh, you know, you are so polite! I do really like you! Oooh. Anything else?

RT:Thank you Eugene.

EG: Glad to talk to such grateful person:) Glad to talk to such grateful person:)

The RT team also attempted to ask Eugene about Reset The Net campaign and Edward Snowden's revelations, but Eugene crashed under the weight of chatty living organisms.