Monday, 25 June 2012

New Scientist article on Reading University's Turing test contest: 23 June 2012

Article on Vladimir Veselov & team's win, by one of the 30 judges in the contest, Celeste Biever in the New Scientist:

"Eugene Goostman, a chatbot imbued with the personality of a 13 year old boy, won the biggest Turing test ever staged, on 23 June, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing.
A veteran of the Loebner prize and the Chatterbox challenge , Eugene was due a win. "We took second place several times but never were we the winners," says Veselov.

Did having a personality give him an advantage? "I think any appearance of a particular personality is likely to have a persuasive effect on judges," says John Barnden, an AI researcher specialising in machine understanding of metaphor at the University of Birmingham, UK, and a fellow judge.
He cautions against concluding that this was Eugene's edge, however - for that you would have to compare two versions of the same bot, but in one case with personality suppressed.
"In my own case it's not so much personality in the abstract that's key as how the system responds to a comment - is the response relevant and non-vacuous?" he adds.

I can sympathise with that: in some cases I knew it was a machine because the entity didn't seem to follow the sense of the conversation. I was however, delighted by how funny, and zany some of the conversations with beings that I labelled as bots (Disclaimer: the best judge award is still to be awarded so I don't actually know how often I was right). They also forced me to consider in a new way, just what it is that makes humans human."

More here.

Eugene Goostman famously deceived Times newspaper journalist Will Pavia in Reading University's staging of the 18th Loebner Prize in 2008: "Machine takes on man at mass Turing Testhere.

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