Passing the Turing Test is arguably one of top priorities of many artificial intelligence developers. In what could be one of the most historic moments in the history of computing, an AI supercomputer named Eugene Goostman has finally aced the test.
The Turing Test is basically a test to determine whether an AI can exhibit a type of intelligence that can make it almost indistinguishable from a human. The test was first conceptualized by Alan Turing, an early computer scientist who is widely recognized as the "Father of Modern Computing and Artificial Intelligence." Turing first mentioned the test in his landmark paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," which was published back in 1950. To pass the test, a computer must converse with a group of humans and convince at 30 percent of the human test subjects that they are conversing with a human. In simple terms, the test was constructed in order to find the solution to the question "Can Machines Think?"
While some scientists might argue that the Turing Test has already been passed by previous AI computers, Coventry Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and University of Reading visiting professor Kevin Warwick says that the latest test is the most definitive. Unlike previously held Turing Tests, the current test involved the largest number of comparison tests. Moreover, it has been verified by third party scientists and the human judges were able to freely converse with Eugene without any restrictions.
"A true Turing Test does not set the questions or topics prior to the conversations," said Warwick. "We are therefore proud to declare that Alan Turing's Test was passed for the first time on Saturday."
In a test that was organized by the University of reading, the supercomputer Eugene Goostman was able to fool 33 percent of the participating human judges that they were conversing with another human. The test was held at the Royal Society in London.
The AI was developed to emulate the intelligence and conversational skills of a 13 year old boy. It was developed by a team that included the AI developers Eugene Demchenko and Vladimir Veselov.
"Of course the Test has implications for society today," Warwick said. "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."
By passing the test, Eugene was able to best 4 other supercomputers that were competing for the Turing test 2014 prize.
"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. We spent a lot of time developing a character with a believable personality."
While Turing himself, died almost exactly 60 years ago, he was able to predict that a computer would eventually be able to pass the test he developed.