By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
Alan Turing once said that “if, during text-based conversation, a machine is indistinguishable from a human, then it could be said to be ‘thinking’, and therefore could be attributed with intelligence”. This became known as the Turing test, and yesterday, five chatbots tried to pass the test. They failed spectacularly.
Every year since 1990, the Loebner Prize has been held to determine if there is a computer bot out there which is indistinguishable from a human being. The top prize is a gold medal and $100,000, but so far, there hasn’t been a grand winner. However, some people have won the bronze medal and $2000 for the prize of most human-like.
The winner yesterday was Elbot (picture above) and I’ve been trying him out. He answered my questions quite well. When I asked him if he had feelings, he responded : “I think I have feelings. I cried when they killed the robot in Terminator“!
There’s no sound card in the website so everything is text-based. The Loebner judges decided though that he was only 25% accurate. So he didn’t even come remotely close to passing Turing’s test.
I think we can safely say that the possibility of something like Skynet, Terminator and cyborgs are probably a long way off. I don’t see Elbot taking over the world, do you?