Having apparently run out of actual people to talk to, New Scientist has posted an interview with Elbot, the chatbot that won this year’s Loebner Prize for artificial intelligence. Structured after the Turing Test, the prize is awarded to whichever bot can fool the most of the 12 judges into thinking that it’s a real person.
Elbot successfully convinced three judges that it was not a chatbot, but rather a human being pretending to be a robot.
Confused? Check out this excerpt from the interview: New Scientist: You and your creator won $3000 of prize money. How do you plan to use the money?
Elbot: As I always say, it’s hard to keep a 600-pound robot down, unless you use gravity.
With natural, sensible dialogue like that, I don’t know how any of the judges could have not been fooled. On that note, if anyone is in need of a quick buck, we suggest entering a chatbot next year that pretends to be a man banging his head against the keyboard.
Anyone who wants to can chat with Elbot; give it a try and tell us what you think after the break.
A machine’s ability to think is something that’s been questioned for nearly half a century, thanks to mathematician Alan Turing. Turing, who helped decipher German military codes during WWII, created a test that is designed to find out if a machine can think on its own. The test consists of a machine attempting to fool a judge into believing that it could be a human by having a text-based conversation on any subject. If the computer’s responses convince the judge that they are speaking with a human, then it has passed the Turing test, and is believed to be capable of thought.
This Sunday, six computer programs will be put through the Turing test in an attempt to win their creator not only an 18-carat gold medal and $100,000, but to prove that computers are capable of thought. The programs competing for the prize go by the names Alice, Brother Jerome, Elbot, Eugene Goostman, Jabberwacky and Ultra Hal. While the names sound like those of rejected VH1 reality show contestant names, they’re far more intelligent, and won’t be spitting on any of their opponents anytime soon.
Should the computers be found to have the ability to think, it’ll raise ethical questions as to how conscious a computer is, and if humans have the “right” to switch them off.
But the Turing test isn’t for everyone. "The test is misguided. Everyone thinks it's you pitting yourself against a computer and a human, but it's you pitting yourself against a computer and computer programmer,” criticizes Professor AC Grayling of Birkbeck College, “AI is an exciting subject, but the Turing test is pretty crude."
Do you think you’ve got what it takes to decipher whether or not you’re talking to a computer? Test your mental mettle after the jump.