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30-Dec-2015 12:34 by 9 Comments

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The chatbot's developer had tried and failed many times to convince humans it was human.

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Only a third of the judges were actually persuaded that the chatbot was a 13-year old Ukrainian speaking English as a second language.Former BBC science man David Whitehouse reminded everyone via Twitter this week that as far back as 1991, Warwick was predicting "real life Terminators" within ten years.What did it this time is Warwick's claim that the "Turing Test" - which measures ability of a machine to convincingly mimic a human while communicating with real humans in a blind test - had been passed at an event Warwick had organised and hosted.This had all the hallmarks of a Warwick stunt - you only had to look.Warwick told the media that the landmark had been achieved using a "supercomputer" - when it fact it was a simple AI chatbot program running on a laptop.For 14 years, The Register has been chronicling the publicity stunts of Kevin Warwick, an attention-seeking academic with a sideline in self-mutilation*.

In fact, Warwick has been making improbable claims to the press for much longer than that: over twenty years.But the world has continued to relay Warwick's stunts and soundbytes unskeptically. This week, the realisation may have belatedly dawned on much of the mainstream media that a Kevin Warwick claim needs to be taken with a mine's worth of salt.The "science" proves (or disproves) very little, and his predictions are frequently a load of cock.Again, as Dr Whitehouse points out, it isn't hard to imitate a 13-year old.Warwick's latest stunt is a vivid example of Jaron Lanier's observation that to be impressed by computer AI, we first have to make ourselves pretty stupid. Rollo, a chatbot creation of the fantastically misanthropic and rather evasive AI software developer Rollo Carpenter (I talked to him here) had previously achieved a 59.3 per cent kiddology score, as New Scientist points out. And now we can see the transcripts, we can see how low the judges dumbed themselves down."You can't tell if a machine has gotten smarter or if you've just lowered your own standards of intelligence to such a degree that the machine seems smart," wrote Lanier in You Are Not A Gadget. Asked by the bot 'Eugene' where the judge lived, this exchange followed: Which has all rather put Kevin Warwick under the microscope.