Test explores if robots can think

By | October 14, 2008

Test explores if robots can think

An experiment has been taking place in Berkshire to see if robots are capable of intelligent thought.

Scientists at the University of Reading tested five machines to see if they could pass themselves off as humans in text-based conversations with people. The test was devised in 1950 by British Mathematician Alan Turing, who said that if a machine was indistinguishable from a human, then it was “thinking”. One robot, Elbot, came close on Sunday by reaching 5% below the pass mark.

No robot has ever passed the Turing Test, which requires the robot to fool 30% of its human interrogators. During the experiment, five artificial conversational entities (ACEs) competed in a series of five-minute long, unrestricted conversational tests. …

“Where the machines were identified correctly by the human interrogators as machines, the conversational abilities of each machine was scored at 80% and 90%. “This demonstrates how close machines are getting to reaching the milestone of communicating with us in a way in which we are comfortable. “That eventual day will herald a new phase in our relationship with machines, bringing closer the time in which robots start to play an active role in our daily lives.”

This year’s winner was Elbot, despite failing the Turing Test. The programme’s developers were awarded a $3,000 (£1,760) prize. – bbc

Try Elbot here. I’m not sure if this is the same program that won the competition, but it was somewhat interesting to play with.

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