In the 1950s, computer scientist Alan Turing proposed a test for true artificial intelligence: a machine would be said to be “thinking” when it could convince people that they were talking to a person, not a computer.
Over the years, several groups have claimed to have beaten the Turing test, but a Russian team is now claiming to be the first to really pass such a test. Their “Eugene Goostman” software successfully convinced 33 percent of the members of a panel at the Royal Society in London that it was a 13-year-old Ukranian boy. Before reaching their conclusions, the judges held five-minute “conversations” with the program that could range over any topic.
“Our main idea was that he can claim that he knows anything, but his age also makes it perfectly reasonable that he doesn’t know everything,” Vladimir Veselov, one of Eugene Goostman developers, said. “We spent a lot of time developing a character with a believable personality.”