eugenev FailI was just as excited as everyone else when I read on a post via Reddit that a computer program called Eugene passed for the very first time!  Seems a supercomputer running a program called Eugene Goostman passed the Turing test during an event at the Royal Society in London. It convinced 33 per cent of the judges that it was human, said academics at the University of Reading, which organized the test.  However, as I read the post, I started to question some of the facts presented; 30% of the participants were convinced? Testers has to assume they were talking to a 12 year old boy?  Limited English? That doesn’t sound right.  Then I stared reading the comments;

BS;  Chatbot != A.I.;   Out of three judges, only one was deceived. So, while that IS impressive it didn’t really pass the Turing test…

I then let it pass out of mind ( and thus did not bother to write a post ), just yet another B.S. claim.  However, I AM going to write a post about it now because it seems this Kevin person has made a habit of making silly claims for press attention. There is even a website tracking them. Kevin Warwick Watch.  Seems the website TechDirt had to remind everyone of all the holes in his story, ESPECIALLY the reporters who should have known better.  So lets have a look at their list.

Okay, almost everything about the story is bogus. Let’s dig in:

  1. It’s not a “supercomputer,” it’s a chatbot. It’s a script made to mimic human conversation. There is no intelligence, artificial or not involved. It’s just a chatbot.
  2. Plenty of other chatbots have similarly claimed to have “passed” the Turing test in the past (often with higher ratings). Here’s a story from three years ago about another bot, Cleverbot, “passing” the Turing Test by convincing 59% of judges it was human (much higher than the 33% Eugene Goostman) claims.
  3. It “beat” the Turing test here by “gaming” the rules — by telling people the computer was a 13-year-old boy from Ukraine in order to mentally explain away odd responses.
  4. The “rules” of the Turing test always seem to change. Hell, Turing’s original test was quite different anyway.
  5. As Chris Dixon points out, you don’t get to run a single test with judges that you picked and declare you accomplished something. That’s just not how it’s done. If someone claimed to have created nuclear fusion or cured cancer, you’d wait for some peer review and repeat tests under other circumstances before buying it, right?
  6. The whole concept of the Turing Test itself is kind of a joke. While it’s fun to think about, creating a chatbot that can fool humans is not really the same thing as creating artificial intelligence. Many in the AI world look on the Turing Test as a needless distraction.

Its not like these are things you need to have a major in AI to know; and the fact, I did a spot check of all the outlets that announced this ‘great event’, and with each one the commentators seemed to know more about the Turing test, and other problems with this story, then the writers.

Come on guys, I know you have to rush a story out to beat everyone, but at LEAST go back later and check your facts, or read the comments and update your story.

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