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Jun 10, 2014 02:14 AM EDT

Russian Computer Program Passes Turing Test, Historic Milestone in Artificial Intelligence Achieved


Eugene Goostman, a computer program simulating a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy, has passed the Turning Test for the first time in history.

The 65-year-old iconic Turing Test by Alan Turing - the father of modern computer science - determines if a machine displays intelligent behaviour equivalent to or indistinguishable from that of a human. The test is successfully passed if a computer is able to convince the judges that it is a human being more than 30 percent of the time during a series of five-minute keyboard conversations.

At the Turing Test 2014, organized by the University of Reading's School of Systems Engineering, the chatbot - Eugene Goostman - assured 33 percent of the human judges that it was a real person and not a computer.

The event has been branded as "historic" by the organisers as no computer succeeded in the test before. The 2014 event is also significant as it took place on the 60th anniversary of Alan Turing's death.

"In the field of Artificial Intelligence there is no more iconic and controversial milestone than the Turing Test, when a computer convinces a sufficient number of interrogators into believing that it is not a machine but rather is a human," said Kevin Warwick, a visiting professor at the University of Reading and deputy vice-chancellor for research at Coventry University, in a statement.

"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."

The computer program was developed in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The masterminds of the computer program are creator Vladimir Veselov, who is a native of Russia and resident of the United States, and Ukrainian-born Eugene Demchenko from Russia.

Other artificial intelligence (AI) systems including Cleverbot, Elbot and Ultra Hal also challenged supercomputer Eugene Goostman at the Royal Society in London.

Control groups and 30 judges including actor Robert Llewellyn and Lord Sharkey participated in the event.

"It is indeed a great achievement for Eugene. It was very clever ruse to pretend to be a 13-year-old Ukranian boy, which would constrain the conversation. But these competitions are really great to push developments," said Sharkey, a leading expert in robotic technology and artificial intelligence, BBC reports.

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