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||| BIG DATA / HPC / M2M

Turing or not Turing?

25 July 2014 by Pierre Picard

For the first time ever, a computer program was able to pass as a human being in a dialogue with a panel of judges. The celebrated ‘Turing Test’, introduced by the famous English computer scientist, was successfully passed.

The test took place in the UK, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Turing’s death. Five computer programs exchanged text messages with a panel of judges, who had no idea whether they were talking to a human being or a computer. 33% of the judges thought that Eugene Goostman was a 13-year old Ukrainian boy (as he claimed)… whereas Eugene Goostman is, in fact, a ‘chatbot’ program developed by programmers Vladimir Veselov, Eugene Demchenko and Sergey Ulase.

But there’s a ‘but’…
Presented as a teenage boy and a Ukrainian, Eugene Goostman could get away with hesitations and approximate answers on account of his youth and his imperfect understanding of English. So should we question this feat? Turing or not Turing?

Turing, most definitely!
While the success of Eugene Goostman is perhaps questionable, there’s no doubt that artificial intelligence has taken a new step forward. Convergence with other fields of science – including the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and supercomputers – opens up a new era, where objects are not only intelligent but more intelligent that man.

A whole load of questions from science fiction are now entering the field of ‘real’ science. How will we live with machines that are more intelligent than we are? How do we deal with machines that will think, decide and act or reproduce independently of man?

HAL, the computer from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, who thinks like men and who is able to manipulate them, is about to become a reality!

Alan Turing, one of the fathers of logic and computing
Alan Turing was the author of a 1936 article on mathematical logic, which later became one of the founding texts of computer science. During the Second World War, he played a major role in research on cryptography generated by the Enigma machine, used by the Nazis. His discoveries enabled the resilience of the Nazi regime to be ground down more quickly. After the Second World War, Alan Turing worked on one of the first computers, and made a provocative contribution to the already heated debate at this time on the machine’s ability to think, by establishing the ‘Turing Test’.

In 1952, a news item related to his homosexuality led to his prosecution. Alan Turing was ostracized by British society. To avoid prison, he chose chemical castration by taking oestrogen. On 7 June 1954, Alan Turing was found dead by cyanide poisoning. In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II pardoned him posthumously.

Source: Wikipedia


Photo Credit: © Andrea Danti –

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