Culture Magazine

Has the Turing Test Been Passed?

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
You've probably heard that claims are being made about a computer passing the Turing Test. The program pretends that it's a 13-year-old Ukranian boy. FWIW, Ray Kurzweil doesn't think that this chatbot has passed the test.
Though I'm skeptical about Kurzweil's general views on AI, I think he's right about this one. In his blog post he talks about the bet he made with Mitch Kapoor that the Turing Test will be passed by 2029. He noted that they had to spend a great deal of time negotiating the specific terms of the text, which is itself rather vague.
What I'm wondering is whether or not the Turing Test is, in fact, just another specialized domain for AI. Given that the conversation is, in principle, open-ended one might not think of it as being specialized. But I'm no so sure. After all, no human can talk well on every topic so we shouldn't expect it of a computer either. And, after all, people can get pretty strange in conversation. So strangeness – whatever that is – wouldn't be a surefire indicator either.
But what would be a surefire indicator? Anything?
No, I'm beginning to think that Turing Testing is a specialized performance domain. The specialization may be rather different from playing Jeopardy, but it's still a specialization. If so, there will come a time when computer performance is so good that the contest holds little further interest.

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