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Hugh Loebner Died

Not sure if you know this but Hugh Loebner has died peacefully in his sleep. The AI world will miss such a colourful and eccentric character. It was a pleasure to meet and know Hugh.


  [ # 1 ]

A sad day, indeed. He will be missed. downer


  [ # 2 ]

Huh! sad thing, he was an AI giant, and added a lot of himself to the world knowledge!
Hopefully anyone who might have won the Loebner Prize, might have saved some of his thoughts interviews, or articles, and should be able to set up a “Huges Loebner” chatbot to replicate his way of thinking, perhaps using deep AI, or something newer. May be all of us, someday we will be remembered in ‘life’ by means of an AI, mimicking our very words,
¿who knows, what future deserve us?


  [ # 3 ]

Sad news, big loss to the community. He did a lot to encourage development in this field.


  [ # 4 ]

A group of 12 past Loebner prize winners has sent a letter to the AISB asking that the contest continue.  Hugh once said he wanted a “pool of winners”, and not one person winning the contest every year, so that we would have a vested interest in continuing the contest after he passed.  I’m pleased that my fellow prize-winners came together and we were able to honor Hugh’s wish by expressing our collective desire that the Loebner Prize carries on.

In fact, there is a short news item on the AISB web site saying, “the AISB who will continue to run the contest annually in accordance with Hugh’s wishes.”

Farewell Hugh, you will be missed.


  [ # 5 ]

I’ve now heard back from all 13 living past Loebner prize winners, and all of us have signed the letter to the AISB.

That made our sentiment unanimous among past Loebner prize winners, with the exception of the elusive Joseph Weintraub, who won the contest 4 out of the first 5 times the contest was held. 

Several years ago when I was organizing the Chatbots 3.x conference, I tried to contact Weintraub and invite him as a speaker.  I reached a woman at his phone number who said he was not well enough to come to the phone.  Later I thought heard (maybe from Hugh) that Weintraub had passed away, but I wasn’t sure.

I found a mailing address for him and sent him a letter along with a copy of our letter to the AISB.  Yesterday I received a reply from his daughter Anna, who confirmed that he had passed away.  She did however ask that we include her signature on his behalf. 

So now we have 14 signatures representing all 14 past Loebner prize winners, expressing our unanimous desire that the contest continue in 2017 and beyond.

Long live the Loebner Prize Contest!


  [ # 6 ]

Thank you for that, Rich. Even though I’ve never even entered the Loebner Competition, it’s been an important part of my involvement in the AI/chatbots community, and I would dearly love to see Hugh’s legacy continue. I’m sure that the rest of us in the community who have watched, but never participated, feel the same.


  [ # 7 ]

Great work Rich and congrats on tracking down all the previous winners!


  [ # 8 ]

That reminds me to find a new copy of Alan Turing’s paper to link to: I assume that Loebner’s personal website will eventually be discontinued. There’s also some previous contest results on there that some might want to preserve for the ages.
(Oh, who am I kidding, I’ll host the paper myself:


  [ # 9 ]

Thank you for that, Don.


  [ # 10 ]

He was a grand person and will be missed.

That may sound as an odd way to write it, but my greatest motive in the Loebner contest was, more than anything, to “reward” Hugh with a full success.

He inspired us all in the first place in these accomplishments.
He deserved, and still deserves, all our commitment and efforts to the task.

I will really miss him; I only had two short conversations with Hugh but he was so welcoming.

Thank you Don for that action.


  [ # 11 ]

OMG! I missed this news!!! He has been such a support to me setting up this website and he has had an immense impact on the AI industry. I loved his personality, his views, his opinions. Can’t imagine that he’s gone now.

He was a friend!!! Rest in Peace buddy!


  [ # 12 ]

These are really nice tributes that I’ll raise next time the Loebner Prize organizing committee meet.

I only met Hugh at the 2016 and 2015 events, and had some email back and forth, but was always impressed by his humanity and his firm commitment to his vision.

Rest assured that the competition will go on.


  [ # 13 ]

I remember when I was arguing against the Loebner Prize Protocol on the Robitron yahoo group and Chris McKinstry was the only one who took my side ...


  [ # 14 ]

Our letter was published.  Somehow I missed this when it came out in February.  Here is a link to the AISB quarterly that contains the letter from past winners as well as a nice obit of Hugh written by Ed Keedwell.


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