A computer program has successfully managed to dupe people into believing it is human.
Created in 2001 by Vladimir Veselov and Eugene Demchenko, the bot simulates a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy named Eugene Goostman, Huffington Post reports. It is the first program to pass the Turing Test. The Turing Test was invented by Alan Turing, a World War II codebreaker and computing pioneer, in 1950. The test determines whether or not a computer is thinking, and if it is indistinguishable from humans. A program passes the test if it manages to convince 30% of testers it is human.
Mr. Goostman did just that. The simulation convinced 33% of testers that it was real. The test, organized by the University of Reading, was conducted at the Royal Society in London.
“Our main idea was that he can claim that he knows anything, but his age also makes it perfectly reasonable that he doesn’t know everything,” said Vladimir Veselov. “It’s a remarkable achievement for us and we hope it boosts interest in artificial intelligence and chatbots.”
Naturally, I wanted to see if this simulation is as impressive as it sounds. Luckily, Eugene Goostman is available for anyone to talk to.
KF: Hello! My name is Katie. What is your name?
EG: People call me Eugene. Or “Zhenya”. It is a short name for Eugene in Russia and Ukraine.
KF: Nice to meet you, Eugene. Where are you from?
EG: I live in a big Ukrainian city called Odessa. It is on the Black Sea shore.
KF: How old are you?
EG: I’m thirteen.
KF: Do you like living in Odessa?
EG: My city is really nice! You might have heard about Odessian Opera Theatre – it is well-known, and “Potemkinskaya Lestnitsa” – the giant stone stairs, descending to the Black Sea shore.
KF: That does sound nice. Do you go to school?
EG: I attend an ordinary school in Odessa, my native city. Its number is 28 if it makes any difference to you.
KF: Do you play any sports?
EG: I do play most of sports – on computer, though.
KF: Why on the computer?
EG: If we are talking about machinery, do you like computer games, by the way?
KF: I do!
EG: You are quite a positive person, I’d say. Some another topic?
KF: Do you have any questions for me?
EG: I would rather not talk about it if you don’t mind. By the way, did I tell you that I born in Odessa, it’s such Ukrainian city?
KF: You did.
EG: By the way, you still didn’t tell me your name, or I’ve missed it?
KF: I did tell you my name. It’s Katie.
EG: Your name? But you didn’t tell me your name or I forgot it 🙁
KF: I think you may be a bit confused.
EG: In any case, I take into account your point of view. I know you are supposed to trick me.
KF: I’m not trying to trick you.
EG: No, you are trying to trick me. Don’t fool me, please!
It seems poor Eugene got confused towards the end of our conversation. Unfortunately, my questions were biased because I was already aware that I was talking to a simulation, but Eugene seems like a nice, slightly paranoid, little computer boy.