On Saturday, a computer convinced judges it is capable of thinking independently. For the first time ever, a machine passed the Turing Test, demonstrating a well-developed artificial intelligence.

Eugene Goostman is the name of a robot created by Vladimir Veselov (Russia) and Eugene Demchenko (Ukraine), both computer engineers.

Goostman was submitted to the Alan Turing test on Saturday, a controversial test that measures a machine’s humanity. According to it, if 30 percent of humans cannot distinguish between a robot and another human while they’re having a conversation, then the robot is “intelligent”.

 

Computer convinces judges it is capable of thinking

 

Veselov and Demchenko programmed Goostman’s age at 13, thus making it excusable for the robot to miss some of the right answers. “Our main idea was that he can claim that he knows anything, but his age also makes it perfectly reasonable that he doesn’t know everything”, said Veselov, adding that if there was something he wasn’t programmed to know the answer to, the judges would blame his age, not his lack of humanity.

The test, organized by the University of Reading, was conducted at the Royal Society, England.

Eugene told judges he was a 13-year-old boy from Odessa, Ukraine, that his father was a gynecologist and that he owned a pet guinea pig.

Even though highly controversial, the Turing Test applied in Goostman’s case was very rigorous according to the experts. “The words Turing Test have been applied to similar competitions around the world [but] this event involved the most simultaneous comparison tests than ever before, was independently verified and, crucially, the conversations were unrestricted”, said Professor Kevin Warwick, a visiting educator at the University of Reading.

13-year-old Eugene is the first robot to have passed the Turing Test. In 2012, a chatboot missed it by one percent, fooling 29 percent of 25 judges.