How the “Most Human Human” passed the Turing Test

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To prove he was human, author Brian Christian competed against some of the world’s most advanced artificial intelligence in an annual Turing Test competition. Christian attempted to convince a group of judges that he was a human, not a computer chatbot program. (Spoiler alert: He won, and was named the “Most Human Human.”)

The Turing Test, named for the British mathematician Alan Turing, is designed to figure out if a machine can fool a person into thinking the machine is a human. It has been staged annually since 1991 by the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour’s Loebner Prize.

No computer has passed the Turing Test at the competition so far. But some have come close. And the day when a machine finally wins might not be that far off. As Christian points out, in a world of increasing communication via text and emoji (or even Google Smart Reply), human communication is becoming more bot-like, blurring the distinction between humans and machines.

“We are meeting the machines in the middle,” he concludes.