Alan Turing, an English mathematician who played a key role as a code breaker during WWII, is sometimes called the father of computer programming. He is famous for proposing a test for computer intelligence that was based on a parlor game in which a questioner tried to deduce the gender of two people behind a curtain. The parlor game was simple: Written questions and answers were passed back and forth so that tone and pitch of voice did not betray the people behind the curtain. Turing’s proposed test switches one of the hidden people for a computer. The game is to figure out which curtain hides a human and which conceals artificial intelligence.
We now call this the Turing Test, and it’s typically played out on a computer through a conversation with a chatbot. This past summer, a program that emulates the personality of a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy, “Eugene Goostman,” convinced 33 percent of judges that it was human, reports Dan Falk for Smithsonian.
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