Turing Test Finally Beaten by Robot Posing as Teenage Boy

Machine convinces judges he's a real boy on the 60th anniversary of Alan Turing's death.

(Photo via Saad Faruque)

(Photo via Saad Faruque)

As long as computers have been around, programmers have have been struggling to bring them to life, mostly with comical results. But finally, a robot designed to simulate a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy beat the famous Turing Test this weekend at the University of Reading. Call him the Ender Wiggin of artificial intelligence — the boy that finally won the war.

The robot’s name is Eugene. It was created in St. Petersburg by a Ukrainian programming team, and was designed to emulate a young boy largely because the insufficiencies of artificial intelligence are easily mistakable as teen idiocy and obnoxiousness, event organizer Kevin Warwick told Motherboard.

“There can be some colloquialisms, some modern-day nuances with references to pop music that you might not get so much of if you’re talking to a philosophy professor or something like that,” Mr. Warwick told Motherboard.

The Turing Test was invented by Alan Turing in his 1950 paper “Computer Machinery and Intelligence.” To pass the test, a robot must trick 30 percent of judges into thinking it’s human. Eugene managed to convince 33 percent that it was a living, breathing boy — and on the 60th anniversary of Alan Turing’s death, to boot.

The researchers have put the bot up online here so that you too can chat with a self-involved adolescent robot, but good luck getting that link to work. Eugene has been getting so much attention for its triumph that the page is struggling to stay up.

The team behind Eugene wants to continue to improve on its intelligence, but there have been no announcements beyond that. We’re personally hoping that they’ll aquihire him to replace Siri, but maybe it’s a better to wait a few years until Eugene matures a bit. We don’t want every request for driving directions to take us to Taco Bell or the Gamestop at the mall.