Feeds

Captain Cyborg to chew the fat with Ultra Hal

Reading uni hosts Turing Test contenders

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

Reading Uni's cybernetic media strumpet Kev "Captain Cyborg" Warwick is poised to put six computer programmes to ultimate test - that devised by Alan Turing in which the machine must engage in convincingly human banter, thereby heralding "the most significant breakthrough in artificial intelligence since the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997".

Well, that's how the Observer breathlessly describes the possible outcome of next Sunday's dateline with computing destiny, when university volunteers will chew the fat with Alice, Brother Jerome, Elbot, Eugene Goostman, Jabberwacky and Ultra Hal.

Specifically, the carbon-based "interrogators" will face a computer screen, one half of which will be "operated" by an unseen fellow human, the other by one of the contending programmes. The interrogators will engage in simultaneous five-minute text chats with both, after which they'll have to decide who's who. Warwick reckons a programme "needs only to make 30 per cent or more of the interrogators unsure of its identity to be deemed as having passed the test, based on Turing's own criteria".

Warwick explained: "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."

At stake is not just a huge evolutionary leap in machine conciousness, whereby your PC suddenly acquires self-awareness and then locks you out of your flat, refusing to open the door while declaring "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that", but also "an 18-carat gold medal and $100,000 offered by the Loebner Prize in Artificial Intelligence".

And in case you're wondering just how close machines are to achieving human-style intelligence, the Observer concludes by inviting readers to decide which of two Warwick conversations is with a human, and which with an "artificial conversational entity". It's a tricky one, and no messing... ®

Bootnote

Thanks to Andrew Macdonald for the tip-off.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
WRISTJOB LOVE BONANZA: justWatch sex app promises blind date hookups
Mankind shuffles into the future, five fingers at a time
Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen
Angry Microsoftie hauls auctioneers to court over stalled Pzkw. IV 'deal'
Apple's Mr Havisham: Tim Cook says dead Steve Jobs' office has remained untouched
'I literally think about him every day' says biz baron's old friend
Flaming drone batteries ground commercial flight before takeoff
Passenger had Something To Declare, instead fiddled while plane burned
Cops apologise for leaving EXPLOSIVES in suitcase at airport
'Canine training exercise' SNAFU sees woman take home booming baggage
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.