A Computer Finally Cracks The Turing Test
A Russian supercomputer named “Eugene Goostman” was able to fool researchers and make them believe it was a 13 year old boy. The computer was able to beat the Turing test by fooling 33% of the researchers. The Turing test assess the Human like behavior of an Artificially Intelligent system (AI). It is an important story to know as there will be multiple kinds of comprehensions and speculations in the readers mind.
“Eugene” was created in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was invented by software development engineer Vladimir Veselov and software engineer Eugene Demchenko. The computer was tested along with four others at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.
First and foremost let us rest assure you that Skynet or HAL 9000 haven’t been created yet. This is actually the next step in the evolution of computing. Some scientists like Kevin Warwick, visiting professor at the University of Reading, hold the view that rather than being an accomplice in cyber-crime, the system can actually help in solving cyber-crimes because it understands human perspective.
So now that you are relieved that Terminators are not going to show up, lets take the story further. The Turing Test was invented by the father of modern computing Alan Turing. He created the first model of a general functions computer. This was the base of computers and now smartphones like the one that you are reading this article on. The invention was called the Turing machine.
Turing was one of the real heroes of World War 2. He was a British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, computer scientist and importantly a philosopher. He cracked the German enigma code which helped the Allied forces win the war. And guess how was he honored for this achievement? he was prosecuted and chemically castrated for being a homosexual. This is the perfect example of how moronic archaic beliefs hamper with real progress. Turing died in 1954 due to cyanide poisoning (a likely suicide). There is a lot they can be blamed for, but at least the British government had the good sense of declaring an Official Public Apology in 2009 and a posthumous pardon in December of 2013 (doesn’t solve anything but better late than never.)
Alan Turing also formulated the Turing test for understanding Artificial Intelligence. It is a test to determine the ability of a computer to think or exhibit intelligent behavior akin to a real human being. The test lets the volunteers ask certain questions to access the human behavior in 5 minutes and if the researchers can’t specify if the answers are from a Human or a computer, the computer wins.
The Russian Supercomputer, “Eugene” was able to beat the Turing test by a very narrow margin; it needed 30% to pass while it scored 33%, becoming the first computer to do so. It is not an easy feat to achieve as the test was curated by independent auditors.
Our present day way of living, our economies, a massive tech sector job market can all be attributed to the likes of Alan Turing who dared to dream in an oppressive era. While we use our computers and smartphones, we unknowingly keep the legacy of Alan Turing alive. There is also an important lesson to learn here; our judgment of people shouldn’t be based on their personal affiliations and choices but rather be on their proclivities and talents.
Eugene is the first to beat the Turing’s test but hopefully it will encourage others to create better AI computers. With this experiment, in a way we have created Life, though digital, but still a conscious life. While we can debate if this can lead to a utopian or dystopian future like the sci-fi movies, the fact remains that Alan’s machine has brought invaluable advancement for our civilization. So working towards a futuristic technology should be a priority for all. Maybe with the lessons we have learnt from the movies, we would be able to perfect a JARVIS instead of a HAL-9000.