We are already in 2012 and for those involved in the industry of chatbots and artificial intelligence it will be an exciting year for sure! Concretely, 2012 has been designated “Alan Turing Year”, commemorating the mathematician, computer pioneer, and code-breaker on the centennial of Turing’s birth.
Alan Turing, (1912 – 1954), was an English mathematician and computer scientist whose Turing machine played a significant role in the creation of the modern computer. In the world of artificial intelligence his “Turing test” is widely recognized as a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior.
In Turing’s original illustrative example of the test, a human judge engages in a natural language conversation with a human and a machine designed to generate performance indistinguishable from that of a human being. All participants are separated from one another and if the judge cannot reliably tell the machine from the human, the machine is said to have passed the test.
The only chatbot to almost pass the Turing test so far is Elbot who in October 2008 convinced three of the 12 human interrogators at the Loebner prize that he was indistinguishable from human, beating the other contestants and taking the Bronze Prize. If Elbot had convinced one other judge, he would have passed the 30% mark – the threshold set by Alan Turing.
These days Elbot and other chatbots are again getting prepared for the next big 2012 Loebner Prize Artificial Intelligence award, which will take place in Bletchley Park, UK, as part of the Turing 100 Celebration. If there is a time for the very first chatbot to show true human intelligence, there is no better time than this year.
Elbot the robot is also participating in The Chatterbox Challenge (CBC) which began in 2001 is an annual contest for chatbots. It is unique in the fact that minimal restrictions are placed on the type of technology used in the creation of the bot. The competition begins in early March and finishes by the end of April. Botmasters from across the globe submit their chatbots for evaluation and competition. Every entered chat bot is asked a series of questions and scored on its responses by a set of independent judges. The top ten bots move to a final round where an additional series of questions is posed to the finalists. The winner is selected by the judges as the chatbot who has scored the highest from among the finalists. A number of the chatbots who have entered the competition in the past have become the foundation for commercial technologies.Elbot