Turing Test on six machine: Loebner Prize in Artificial Intelligence
The Turing Test was introduced by Alan M. Turing (1912-1954) as “the imitation game” in his 1950 article (now available online) Computing Machinery and Intelligence (Mind, Vol. 59, No. 236, pp. 433-460) which he so boldly began by the following sentence:
I propose to consider the question “Can machines think?” This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms “machine” and “think.”
Turing Test is meant to determine if a computer program has intelligence. Quoting Turing, the original imitation game can be described as follows:
The new form of the problem can be described in terms of a game which we call the “imitation game.” It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays in a room apart from the other two. The object of the game for the interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman. He knows them by labels X and Y, and at the end of the game he says either “X is A and Y is B” or “X is B and Y is A.” The interrogator is allowed to put questions to A and B.
When talking about the Turing Test today what is generally understood is the following: The interrogator is connected to one person and one machine via a terminal, therefore can’t see her counterparts. Her task is to find out which of the two candidates is the machine, and which is the human only by asking them questions. If the machine can “fool” the interrogator, it is intelligent.
This test has been subject to different kinds of criticism and has been at the heart of many discussions in AI, philosophy and cognitive science for the past 50 years.
Who was Alan Turing?
[from Wikipedia.org] Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS (pronounced /ˈt(j)ʊ(ə)rɪŋ/) (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was an English mathematician, logician and cryptographer.
Turing is often considered to be the father of modern computer science. He provided an influential formalisation of the concept of the algorithm and computation with the Turing machine. With the Turing test, meanwhile, he made a significant and characteristically provocative contribution to the debate regarding artificial intelligence: whether it will ever be possible to say that a machine is conscious and can think. He later worked at the National Physical Laboratory, creating one of the first designs for a stored-program computer, the ACE, although it was never actually built in its full form. In 1948, he moved to the University of Manchester to work on the Manchester Mark I, then emerging as one of the world’s earliest true computers.
During the Second World War Turing worked at Bletchley Park, the UK’s codebreaking centre, and was for a time head of Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including the method of the bombe, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine.
The Loebner Prize for artificial intelligence ( AI ) is the first formal instantiation of a Turing Test. The test is named after Alan Turing the brilliant British mathematician. Among his many accomplishments was basic research in computing science. In 1950, in the article Computing Machinery and Intelligence which appeared in the philosophy journal Mind, Alan Turing asked the question “Can a Machine Think?” He answered in the affirmative, but a central question was: “If a computer could think, how could we tell?” Turing’s suggestion was, that if the responses from the computer were indistinguishable from that of a human,the computer could be said to be thinking. This field is generally known as natural language processing.
In 1990 Hugh Loebner agreed with The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies to underwrite a contest designed to implement the Turing Test. Dr. Loebner pledged a Grand Prize of $100,000 and a Gold Medal (pictured above) for the first computer whose responses were indistinguishable from a human’s. Such a computer can be said “to think.” Each year an annual prize of $2000 and a bronze medal is awarded to the most human-like computer. The winner of the annual contest is the best entry relative to other entries that year, irrespective of how good it is in an absolute sense.
Further information on the development of the Loebner Prize and the reasons for its existence is available in Loebner’s article In Response to the article Lessons from a Restricted Turing Test by Stuart Shieber.
Can machines think? That was the question posed by the great mathematician Alan Turing. Half a century later six computers are about to converse with human interrogators in an experiment that will attempt to prove that the answer is yes.
In the ‘Turing test’ a machine seeks to fool judges into believing that it could be human. The test is performed by conducting a text-based conversation on any subject. If the computer’s responses are indistinguishable from those of a human, it has passed the Turing test and can be said to be ‘thinking’.
No machine has yet passed the test devised by Turing, who helped to crack German military codes during the Second World War. But at 9am next Sunday, six computer programs – ‘artificial conversational entities’ – will answer questions posed by human volunteers at the University of Reading in a bid to become the first recognised ‘thinking’ machine. If any program succeeds, it is likely to be hailed as the most significant breakthrough in artificial intelligence since the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. It could also raise profound questions about whether a computer has the potential to be ‘conscious’ – and if humans should have the ‘right’ to switch it off.
Professor Kevin Warwick, a cyberneticist at the university, said: ‘I would say now that machines are conscious, but in a machine-like way, just as you see a bat or a rat is conscious like a bat or rat, which is different from a human. I think the reason Alan Turing set this game up was that maybe to him consciousness was not that important; it’s more the appearance of it, and this test is an important aspect of appearance.’
The six computer programs taking part in the test are called Alice, Brother Jerome, Elbot, Eugene Goostman, Jabberwacky and Ultra Hal. Their designers will be competing for an 18-carat gold medal and $100,000 offered by the Loebner Prize in Artificial Intelligence. (more)