A computer program has officially passed the historic Turing Test, a 65 year old experiment that seeks to find the point at which a computer can pass as a human being in text-based conversation.
The program, known as Eugene, simulates a 13 year old boy and is the first artificial intelligence to pass the test originally developed by the 20th century mathematician. This year's experiment took place during Turing Test 2014 and was held at the Royal Society in London this weekend, on the 60th anniversary of Turing's death.
Eugene, first developed in Saint Petersburg, Russia, was one of five supercomputers battling to beat the famed test.
"Some will claim that the Test has already been passed," said University of Reading professor Kevin Warwick in a prepared statement. "The words Turing Test have been applied to similar competitions around the world. However this event involved the most simultaneous comparison tests than ever before, was independently verified and, crucially, the conversations were unrestricted. A true Turing Test does not set the questions or topics prior to the conversations. We are therefore proud to declare that Alan Turing's Test was passed for the first time on Saturday.
"Of course the Test has implications for society today. Having a computer that can trick a human into thinking that someone, or even something, is a person we trust is a wake-up call to cybercrime. The Turing Test is a vital tool for combatting that threat. It is important to understand more fully how online, real-time communication of this type can influence an individual human in such a way that they are fooled into believing something is true...when in fact it is not."
To successfully pass the Turing Test, a computer must be mistaken for a human more than 30 percent of the time during a series of five minute keyboard conversations. Eugene managed to convince 33 percent of the human judges that it was human.