Tech support software closes in on Turing Test pass

In addition to being one of the fathers of computer science, Alan Turing postulated a very simple test for when computers move beyond calculations and start engaging in what we might consider thought. For Turing, the ultimate test was whether a person, engaged in a text-based conversation with a machine, would believe that it was conversing with another human.

Each year, the University of Reading hosts a competition where software is put to this test, with the winner taking home the Loebner Prize in Artificial Intelligence. This year’s winner, called Elbot, came within one judge of passing the test, but its success may be less important than the underlying technology: Elbot is the product of a company that promises its software can help companies take the requirement for humans out of live chats and e-mail.

Over a dozen competitors took part in this year’s contest, including older favorites like ALICE and Jabberwacky, both of which wound up among the six finalists. Elbot took home the Loebner Prize by convincing three of a dozen judges that it was human; it and most of the rest of the bots received high scores for portions of their conversation.

Typically, fooling 30 percent of people is considered a pass on the Turing Test, so this suggests that the combination of fast processors and sophisticated software is on the verge of passing the test.

source

Looks to me like Kurzweil will be cashing in on his Turing bet with Mitch Kapor soon.

3 thoughts on “Tech support software closes in on Turing Test pass

  1. Derek James

    Have you actually chatted with Elbot?

    http://www.elbot.com/

    I don’t know what’s wrong with the judges who were fooled. I think this is better as a test of the inadequacies of human cognition.

    And putting me in touch with a version of Elbot for customer support would be a very quick way to lose my business. It’s about on par with the Word paper clip.

  2. Jay

    Derek,

    I didn’t know Elbot was available on the web. I must say that it’s indeed a serious piece of crap.

    Not sure what the hell happened with that Turing Test, but impressive… this is not.

    Forgot what I wrote about Kurzweil cashing in on his bet with Kapor. The rules they agreed on were more strict than the ones used in this particular test, anyway.

  3. Soo

    Derek,I didn’t know Elbot was available on the web. I must say that it’s ineedd a serious piece of crap.Not sure what the hell happened with that Turing Test, but impressive this is not.Forgot what I wrote about Kurzweil cashing in on his bet with Kapor. The rules they agreed on were more strict than the ones used in this particular test, anyway.

Leave a Reply