A “supercomputer” has become the first machine to pass the Turing Test, the iconic measure of artificial intelligence (AI).

“Eugene Goostman” was developed to pose as a 13-year-old boy as it was tested along with four other programs at the Royal Society in London, at an event organised by Reading University’s School of Systems Engineering in partnership with RoboLaw.

Pioneering mathematician and World War II codebreaker Alan Turing suggested that if a machine was indistinguishable from a person, then it was essentially thinking on its own and had some form of artificial intelligence.

The judges each had a five minute text conversation with the program, and were asked whether they thought they were corresponding with a person or a computer.

“Eugene Goostman” managed to fool 33% of the judges overseeing the test that it was a real human child, the first time that a computer program has managed to beat the 30% threshold.

Professor Kevin Warwick, a Visiting Professor at the University of Reading and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research at Coventry University, said:

“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. 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.”

The machine was developed by Ukraine-born Russian resident Eugene Demchenko and Russian-born US resident Vladimir Veselov.

Others have commented that 30% is not a sufficiently high threshold to pass the Turing Test.


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