A computer program disguised as a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy named Eugene Goostman passed a Turing Test at the Royal Society in London by persuading a third of the judges it was human during a five-minute typed conversation. The program’s success did not come as a shock, as the same chatbot won a Turing Test competition in 2012 by convincing 29 percent of the 25 human judges that it was a person as well. The latest victory marks the first time a chatbot has passed an open-ended test, instead of one in which topics or questions are established in advance, according to University of Reading professor Kevin Warwick. In a 2010 presentation, chatbot co-developer Vladimir Veselov said a key component of the Goostman program was a typo corrector, which enables the chatbot to derive sense from misspellings and mistypings that generally cause computers far more difficulties than humans. Chatbots could be employed to provide robot aid to website visitors, or be embedded in robots that serve as companions to people. The underlying technologies also could be applied toward improving automatic document parsing. Warwick says the Turing Test is an alert to the potential of cybercrime, and could serve as a vital tool for combating that threat.
More info: ZDNet (06/08/14) Jack Schofield