Vladimir Veselov, computer software developer and Eugene Demchenko, software engineer, have created the first computer that fooled humans into thinking they were speaking to a 13 year old boy.
The University of Reading (UR) said that 33% of participants in a 5 minute online conversation with “Eugene Goostman” were tricked into believing this computer was actually a real-life teenager. Strikingly, this feat means that Veselov and Demchenko successfully created a computer program that passed the Turing Test.
In 1950, Alan Turing wrote a paper entitled Computing Machinery and Intelligence that asked the question: “Can machines think?” The Turing Test establishes a “test for intelligence in a computer, requiring that a human being should be unable to distinguish the machine from another human being by using the replies to questions put to both.”
With the revelation posed by “Eugene”, artificial intelligence (AI) takes a giant leap forward by way of future consent for the review of sentience in computing which paves the way for asking the question: Should computers be allowed to decide what actions they take and when to act on those decisions?
Veselov explained: “Our whole team is very excited with this result. Going forward we plan to make Eugene smarter and continue working on improving what we refer to as ‘conversation logic.’”
RoboLaw (RL), in conjunction with UR School of Systems Engineering (SSE) provided the funding for this event with “Eugene”.
RL explains they are a consortium of academia whose “main objective … is to investigate the ways in which emerging technologies in the field of (bio-) robotics (e.g. bionics, neural interfaces and nanotechnologies) have a bearing on the content, meaning and setting of the law.”
Their main focus in making robotics more agreeable to the general public resides in using AI technology in:
• Assistance to humans
• Industrial work
• Medical industry
Charles Bailey, digital artist, librarian and publisher of Digital Scholarship (DS), explained that “intelligent computers must be able to reason; however, to be effective, reason may require broad knowledge about the real world” and be able to “understand written and verbal communication”.
Because “we want computers that talk to us”, Bailey said AI must “not only master our native language, but also be able to translate messages from other languages.”
It would be more aesthetically pleasing if the robots had human-like bodies “equipped with visual, auditory, and other sensory capabilities that matched or exceeded human abilities” and could perform tasks such as:
• Fire fighting
• Routine office duties
• Domestic chores
While examining the morality behind creating sentient robots, Bailey asks the following questions:
- Will intelligent computers have relationships that parallel human ones?
- Will they be constructed to be sexual or alter themselves to be so?
- Will they have love relationships?
- Will they form family units, or will they create complex new social structures we cannot envision?
- Will they procreate, or will they allow humans to produce new intelligent computers?
- If they procreate, how will they do so, and will the offspring inherit any of the traits of the parents?
- Will the offspring be created fully functional or will there be a period of childhood?
- Will offspring have any special feelings for their parents?
- How fast will each generation be?
- Will each generation replicate the basic structure and functionality of the last generation, or will each generation represent an advance in the design of the species, causing rapid evolutionary development.
- Will intelligent computers and humans form love relationships?
- Will society recognize the legitimacy of such relationships?
- Will they form friendships with each other and humans?
Ultimately, Bailey sees the advent of intelligent computers placing humanity in the role of “making godlike decisions about a new form of intelligent life” and this necessitates a “delicate balance between controlling truly intelligent computers and nurturing them so that they can develop to their full potential.”