Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Celebrating centenary of Alan Turing's birth in 2012

Turing100in2012 official Internet presence can be found on British cyberneticist, Professor Kevin Warwick's site here.

Turing100 in 2012 Mission:
To take Turing’s exciting idea for a ‘thinking machine’ beyond academia and into schools enlisting children, especially females, to participate in practical imitation games as judges and ‘hidden-humans’, building on the achievements from the 18th Loebner Prize for Artificial Intelligence organised and hosted at the University of Reading in October 2008.

For further information, contact via:

Email: Turing100atBletchleyPark[at]gmail[dot]com

Update May 2011:
20 May: Turing100 Chair, Professor Kevin Warwick on BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Friday 20 May 2011, at 8.38am discussing science fact and science fiction. The British Library has a new free exhibition opening today Out of this World: Science Fiction But Not As You Know It, and a talk this evening at the Library, 6.30-8.00pm Out of this World: Why science fiction speaks to us all (£7.50 / £5 concessions).

From Tom Colls article Why has science fiction not become science fact? on BBC News -Today, Professor Kevin Warwick says:

"As a scientist, you are a mini-science fiction person anyway," he says, explaining how in coming up with a scientific hypothesis you are imagining what might be possible in the future, in order to then prove it right or wrong.

"If we say 'that's science fiction, we're not going to go there', we'll get there," he says. "If we say 'how can we do this?', we can bring it about, hopefully, and we've got a transformed world."

3 May: Turing100 will stage question-answer experiments at Bletchley Park on Turing's 100th birthday, Saturday 23 June 2012 with the purpose of

a) raising awareness of a particular cybercrime perpetrated through deployment of artificial text-based dialogue systems that attempt to steal human interlocutors’ identity and conduct financial fraud (CyberLover, 2007; Flirtbot, 2010)
b) increasing deception-detection rate (Turing test researcher Dr. Huma Shah showed nearly 20 percent of human judges did not correctly identify a pair of hidden interlocutors in 60 machine-human Turing tests she carried out at the University of Reading in 2008)
c) improving recognition of age and sex of hidden human interlocutors (grooming youngsters by pretending to be nearer their age or a different sex is a risk to children talking to strangers on the Internet – see Lancaster University ISIS study, 2010)

There is an entry fee to the family-friendly venue Bletchley Park - space at Turing100 on Saturday 23 June 2012 is limited. Contact Dr. Shah on: Turing100atBletchleyPark[at]gmail[dot]com

Update April 2011:
a) Shah & Warwick's Hidden Interlocutor Misidentification in Practical Turing Tests achieves highest number of downloads [217] in the last 90 days in Minds and Machines journal
b) Dr. Shah gave opening keynote at the 2nd TCIT - Turing Test symposium / AISB 2011, Tork University, 5 April. Talk title: Turing's Misunderstood Imitation Game and IBM Watson's Success.

Update February 2011:
Attended Manchester's museum of science and industry half-term events, including a 'can a machine think?' experiment introducing children to artificial chat.

Turing statue in Sackville Gardens (holding apple and 2011 Red Nose Day pen!):

Update November 2010:
Turing100 supports Get Safe Online.

Hear Get Safe Online's Tony Neate on BBC Radio 4 Today, Monday 15 November, 2010 at 0712:
"Organised criminal gangs are tricking internet users into buying and downloading fake anti-virus protection. Tony Neate of Get Safe Online assesses fraudulent internet security offers."

Click here to listen.

Update February 2010:
22 February: Deposit paid for Turing100 Turing test / science contest at Bletchley Park on Turing's birthday in 2012, Saturday, 23 June.

Turing100 now has a logo, thanks to Stephen Kettle's magnificent Alan Turing slate sculpture, and the creativity of Turing100 team member, Chris Chapman. The logo appears above, and can also be found on the Turing 100 official website here.

Kettle's tribute to Turing can be seen in this picture, from the full sculpture's Bletchley Park unveiling:

Update January 2010:

Physicist, Professor Jim Al-Khalili introduces Alan Turing's morphogenesis work: Turing was the "first man to take on momentous task of unravelling nature's mysterious mathematics". See Al Khalili's excellent BBC4 programme: The Secret Life of Chaos. More here.

Update December 2009:

An enjoyable Robitron meet up, at the e-Bar in Turing's birthplace, now the Colonnade Hotel on Friday 11 December, attended by, among others, Professor S. Barry Cooper, Chair of Turing Centenary Advisory Committee (TCAC), 2008 Loebner Prize winning developer of ELBOT, Fred Roberts, and 2005 & 2006 Loebner Prize winning developer Rollo Carpenter.

The Turing weekend concluded with a visit to the Festival of Christmas event at one of Alan Turing's workplaces (code-breaking during the Second World War), Bletchley Park.

11 November 2009 update:

Join 'Alan Turing Year' Facebook page, or sign up for the 2012 centenary newsletter here:

9 October 2009 update:

Paid second visit to Alan Turing's birthplace, now Colonnade Hotel, with Professor Kevin Warwick.

Outside the hotel:

Outside the Turing suite, the room in which Alan Turing is believed to have been born in June 1912:

English Heritage Blue plaque:

(Turing blue plaque on Colonnade Hotel, 2 Warrington Crescent W9)

Update 10/9/09 on UK Turing petition: Gordon has apologised!

See UK PM's 10 September 2009 response to John Graham Cumming's 30,000+ petition signees, to pardon Alan Turing:

"2009 has been a year of deep reflection – a chance for Britain, as a nation, to commemorate the profound debts we owe to those who came before. A unique combination of anniversaries and events have stirred in us that sense of pride and gratitude which characterise the British experience.... code-breaker Alan Turing.

Turing was a quite brilliant mathematician, most famous for his work on breaking the German Enigma codes. It is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of World War Two could well have been very different... on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan’s work I am very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved so much better."

Gordon Brown

If you would like to help preserve Alan Turing's memory for future generations, please donate here:

From here.

Please sign, author of The Geek Atlas, John Graham-Cumming's petition to pardon, brilliant mathematician and WWII code-breaker, Alan Turing here:

UK citizens: 10 Downing Street Turing petition

Non-UK citizens World Turing petition

Text of UK petition:

"Alan Turing was the greatest computer scientist ever born in Britain. He laid the foundations of computing, helped break the Nazi Enigma code and told us how to tell whether a machine could think.

He was also gay. He was prosecuted for being gay, chemically castrated as a 'cure', and took his own life, aged 41.

The British Government should apologize to Alan Turing for his treatment and recognize that his work created much of the world we live in and saved us from Nazi Germany. And an apology would recognize the tragic consequences of prejudice that ended this man's life and career."

From here (3.9.09).

Turing100in2012 is supported by:

The Turing100 in 2012 event will be produced by:

Kevin Warwick - Chair (Loebner Prize 2008 Organiser; Turing Interrogator in Loebner Prizes 2001 & 2006)
Huma Shah - Coordinator (Turing test contest designer for Loebner 2008; Co-organiser Loebner 2006; Judge in Chatterbox Challenge 2005 )
Ian Bland (Technical Director, Loebner Prize 2008)
Chris Chapman (Technical Manager, Loebner Prize 2008)
Marc Allen (MATT message-by-message Communications Protocol developer for Turing tests in Loebner Prize 2008 )

Christopher Nelms (CINphotography) Official event photographer

Other supporters:

Jennifer Coates, Consultant, Linguistics
Hugh Loebner, sponsor of the Loebner Prize for Artificial Intelligence
Rory Dunlop
Robby Garner, twice winner of Loebner Prize (1998, 1999)
Scott Jensen
Jordi VallverdĂș
Fred Roberts winner of Loebner 2008
David Burden of Daden Ltd.
Vladimir Veselov, Eugene Goostman co-designer; runner up in three Loebner Prizes (2001, 2005 & 2008)
Rollo Carpenter, twice winner of Loebner Prize (2005, 2006)
Richard Wallace three times winner of Loebner Prize (2000, 2001 & 2004)
Cornelia Boldyreff
Defeng Wu - Dalian Maritime University, China
Paul Baxter, University of Reading
Jutta Weber
Liesbeth De Mol
Erwin Van Lun, CEO of
Ehab El-agizy, Manager of Chatterbox Challenge

What's wrong with the Turing Test?


Many would argue that it serves little or no purpose, because it does nothing to further the science of understanding human consciousness and intelligence.

What is the Turing Test?

When a machine, unseen and unheard deceives a human into believing that they are in conversation with another human, then that machine must necessarily be deemed intelligent. Why? Because it has mastered the art of deception, and has convinced that it is human through dialogue.

I contend that the Turing Test is the bottom rung on a long ladder to 'True AI'. It provides a platform to enable conversation between human and machine, thanks to Weizenbaum's paradigm seen in the first, pre-Internet natural language understanding system Eliza.

Turing's idea is simple yet brilliant. Turing even pointed the way to proceed with design of an artificial conversational entity (ACE - Shah, 2006). By dividing the problem into two parts: child programme and education process:

Instead of trying to produce a programme to simulate the adult mind,
why not rather try to produce one which simulates the child’s? If this
were then subjected to an appropriate course of education one would
obtain the adult brain (Turing, 1950 - see link to right).
Turing further added:

We cannot expect to find a good child-machine at the first attempt. One must experiment with teaching some such machine and see how well it learns.

Structure of the child-machine = Hereditary material
Changes in the child-machine = Mutations
Natural Selection = Judgment of the Experimenter

Turing added that a simple child-machine might be constructed on the principle of associating punishments and rewards with the teaching process.

Current ACE, based on Turing’s Test, can be seen in two annual competitions: Chatterbox Challenge (CBC) and the Loebner Prize.

The Loebner Prize is sponsored by American scientist and philanthropist Dr. H.G. Loebner. Transcripts of conversations from the Prize provide a feast of information on how human conversation works, an insight into human consciousness and the problem with defining conversational intelligence. It is so subjective.

Reprinted from here.

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