Thursday, April 19, 2012

The #Turing 100 - special event

Celebrations for the Alan Turing centenary are starting to take off as the anniversary of his birth approaches. There are far too many events, competitions, exhibitions, performances, publications and other things happening to feature them all, but this one caught my eye.
    The University of Reading has announced a special one-day event. called Turing100 that will take place on his 100th birthday, June 23 2012, at Bletchley Park where Turing worked as a code breaker during WWII. "Turing100 will be based around Turing's famous question and answer game, commonly known as the Turing test. Using the question and answer method, the experiments which will be part of the Turing 100 day will play a serious role in helping raise awareness of cyber crime using artificial conversation systems aiming to increase the detection rate for online deception and preventing the risk of Internet grooming."
    Reading reports that in an experiment in 2008 "in 25 of the 96 Turing tests there was a failure by human interrogators to correctly recognise at least one of two hidden machines (the human judges classified machines as human; humans were misclassified as machine; sex and age were difficult to recognise)."  Frankly, I find this result surprising since no chatbot I've seen yet comes close to being a convincing human. Try out Cleverbot for yourself, which is currently considered one of the best chatbots.
   My university, The University of Auckland, in New Zealand, is holding a month of public lectures to commemorate Turing's centenary. For details of all the celebrations worldwide visit The Alan Turing Year.