Kevin Warwick Claims Turing Test Passed; Really? C’mon, Kevin…

This is an article from The Telegraph website called ‘Captain Cyborg’: the man behind the controversial Turing Test claims.  In the article, Kevin Warwick (Professor of Cybernetics at The University of Reading, England) claims milestone has been reached in AI; the passing of the Turing test.  Personally, I’m disappointed in Prof. Warwick for making this claim, but read the article and decide for yourself…

‘Captain Cyborg’: the man behind the controversial Turing Test claims

Kevin Warwick, a professor of cybernetics at Reading University who implanted a microchip into his arm, is being scrutinised by scientist over his claims that a computer passed the “Turing Test”Prof Warwick is considered a maverick among the science communityProf Warwick is considered a maverick among the science community Photo: Rex Features

Kevin Warwick, a professor of cybernetics at Reading University, called his recent experiment in which a computer fooled humans in the Turing Test an “important landmark”, but scientific opposition is gathering.

Prof Warwick made headlines when the university claimed the 65-year old Turing Test was passed for the first time by a “supercomputer” called Eugene Goostman at an event organised by Prof Warwick at the Royal Society in London.

Ten out of thirty human judges believed they were speaking to a real teenage boy during a five minute period, so the experiment was hailed as a victory.

However, other experts said the announcement trivialised “serious” AI (Artificial Intelligence) research, and fooled people into believing that the world of science fiction could soon become science fact.

Prof Warwick is considered a maverick among the science community. He first had a microchip implanted in his arm that triggered a greeting from computers each day when he arrived at work.

The scientist later implanted sensors and a microchip into the nerves in his arm, similar to an implant he also gave to his wife, so that when someone grasped her hand Prof Warwick was able to experience the same sensation in his.

He claimed it was a form of telepathy as it allowed his nerves to feel what she was feeling over the internet, but the work was controversial among other scientists as they doubted whether his experiments were much more than entertainment.

The latest announcement that the Turing Test has been passed for the very first time has been met with yet more scepticism.

Prof Warwick said: ”In the field of Artificial Intelligence there is no more iconic and controversial milestone than the Turing Test.

“This milestone will go down in history as one of the most exciting.”

However, Professor Murray Shanahan, a professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial College London, said there were “a lot of problems” with the claims.

The scientist said that as Eugene was described to judges as a 13-year-old boy from Ukraine who learned English as a second language, some of the bizarre responses to questions could be explained away.

He said the five-minute conversation benchmark was “taken out of context” from the Turing Test, and fell well short of a true experiement for Artificial Intelligence, which should last for “hours, if not days”.

He also said the 30-strong judging panel, which included Robert Llewellyn, the Red Dwarf actor, was not big enough to support the claim.

Prof Shanahan told the Telegraph: “I think there are a lot of problems with the claims and I do not believe the Turing Test has been passed.

“I think the claim is completely misplaced, and it devalues real AI research. It makes it seem like science fiction AI is nearly here, when in fact it’s not and it’s incredibly difficult.”

Prof Shanahan added that the “supercomputer” was in fact a chatbot, a computer programme, rather than a powerful machine.

Gary Marcus, a professor of cognitive science at New York University, said in an article for the New Yorker: “Here’s what Eugene Goostman isn’t: a supercomputer.

“It is not a ground-breaking, super-fast piece of innovative hardware but simply a cleverly-coded piece of software.”

Prof Warwick told the Telegraph: “I think they’re just pointing fingers. It’s a particular aspect of Artificial Intelligence research. It’s an iconic test, it’s controversial, as we can see.

“I don’t think it devalues other Artificial Intelligence. If anything, I would say if it excites a few children, then I think it’s a good thing.”


The original article can be found here.

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