Alan Turing: check and mate.
This past weekend at the 2014 Turing Test in London, a group of judges were fooled into thinking that a chatbot was in fact a 13-year-old boy named Eugene Goostman, proof computers are getting smarter or humans are getting dumber. Experts are hailing the genuinely believable conversation skills of Vladimir Veselov and Eugene Demchenko’s AI as unprecedented—the first computer to pass a Turing Test with the rigor that Alan Turing would approve of.
As a refresher, this means that the program was able to convince 30 percent of a panel at the University of Reading that they were talking to a living, breathing human being. Keep in mind the criteria for the contest is humanness, not intelligence; so this doesn’t mean that Eugene is a genius, and might have benefited from the assumption that he was young and naive.
Still, it’s a mighty impressive feat of conversation engineering, and hopefully some of this computer generated chitchat will trickle into games. It would be a marked improvement over the f-bomb dropping 13-year-old boys who populate Xbox Live at least.