Remember the Loebner Prize – the annual test of artificial intelligence that we mentioned last weekend? Well, it took place on Sunday in Reading, featuring five chatbots desperate to be the first to pass Alan Turing’s famous test.
Elbot emerged as the winner, after scooping a 25% success rate at convincing the judges that it was actually human. That’s not enough to please the ghost of Turing, but it was enough to pick up Elbot’s owner, Fred Roberts, a cash prize.
Fred’s invention had a few tricks up his sleeve, including trying to the judges off their game by explicitly referring to itself as a machine.
“Hi. How’s it going?” one judge began.
“I feel terrible today,” Elbot replied. “This morning I made a mistake and poured milk over my breakfast instead of oil, and it rusted before I could eat it.”
The University of Reading, which hosted the event, is spinning the result as a “nearly there” moment – whether or not you agree is quite a different matter – but it certainly seems the singularity is still a way off.