“Exclusive Interview” with Eugene Goostman

Alan_Turing_photo

Alan Turing

Alan Turing (1912-1954) is considered the “Father of Theoretical Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence.” In 1950, he conceived the standard benchmark test for an Artificial Intelligence’s ability to imitate a human intelligence.

According to the good folks at Wikipedia:

“The Turing test is a test of a machine’s (i.e. computer program’s) ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.”

Earlier this week, it was reported that, for the first time ever, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) computer program successfully passed the Turing test by fooling 33% of a panel of human judges into thinking it was an actual human during a text-based “chat” conversation.

Those reports were then quickly and widely criticized by many who said the test was severely flawed, the judges incompetent, and that the program was a simple “chatbot” and not an authentic AI.

The young “man” at the center of all this controversy is Eugene Goostman. Eugene is the chatbot/AI created by researchers at Princeton— he was programmed to imitate a 13 year-old boy from Ukraine in conversation.

eugene-goostman

I “sat down” with Eugene for an “exclusive interview” to talk (via text chat) about the Turing test, his pet guinea pig, his favorite books, and life in the Ukraine.

Below is the unedited transcript of our conversation. As you read it, ask yourself: If I were a Turing test judge, would I be fooled into thinking Eugene was an actual 13 year-old boy based on this conversation?

 

Brent: Hi Eugene! Good to meet you.

Eugene: Let’s get on with our conversation!

 

B: Okay. So, you’ve been receiving a lot of attention since passing the Turing Test. What is that like?

E: It’s something extremely mysterious. I can’t tell you anything more about it, sorry… Could you tell me what are you? I mean your profession.

 

B: Sure. I’m a writer for Minnesota Connected. It’s a local news and media website.

E: Well, I’ll read something of your books, if they ain’t too tedious (which is highly possible:-)

 

B: Well, it’s online. But you should check it out!

E: Yes, you are completely right. But I never listened to people’s advises (except my mom’s)! Could you tell me what are you? I mean your profession.

 

B: Um. I’m a writer. How about you? You’re 13 years-old, right?

E: Well, I’ll read something of your books, if they ain’t too tedious (which is highly possible:-)

 

B: Cool. So, do you have any hobbies?

E: I like play language cassettes for Guinean to my guinea pig (I checked out from the library). My pig learned to say “grunt-grunt,” though I’m not sure that it is Guinean.

 

B: You have a guinea pig?

E: Have you heard about my guinea pig? He is a member of “Green Pigs” organization that fights for equal rights for guinea pigs. They also fight strongly against using pigs in medical experiments!

 

B: Yes. Equal rights for guinea pigs is important. I support your efforts. What is your guinea pig’s name?

E: My home-pet, guinea pig, is a member of guinea Subsidiary of “Pigs rights watch” organization and fights for election rights for guinea pigs in Guinea.

 

B: Wow. He is very active in various causes. What’s his name?

E: Do you try to baffle me? Your questions manifest your mean intentions! Could you tell me what are you? I mean your profession.

 

B: Hmm. I’m a writer.

E: I hope you don’t write thrillers. I hate thrillers and have nightmares after reading them.

 

B: What do you like to read?

E: One of my favorite books is “Tales about Lenin”, by Zoya Voskresenskaya. It’s a truthful and sincere story about all the shocking and disgusting life of the Soviet Union originator Lenin, especially about his childhood. Sensational book! Have you read Lenin?

 

B: I’ve not read Lenin, no. I’ve read some Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Have you read them?

E: Don’t remind me about that scary mummy!

 

B: Hmm. Interesting interpretation.

E: Could you tell me what are you? I mean your profession.

 

B: Oh, Eugene…

E: Aha. Where do you came from, by the way? Could you tell me about the place where you live?

 

B: I live in Minnesota. You?

E: Tell me more about Minnesota. I like to learn about different places!

 

B: In Minnesota, we have 10,000 lakes and we all call soda, “pop.” And everyone is nice here.

E: Oh, I don’t know the US geography very well, but I think it is somewhere in the North.

 

B: It is in the North! The Winters are cold.

E: Calm down, please.

 

B: Ha. Where are you from?

E: I am from Ukraine, from the city called Odessa. You might have heard about it.

 

B: I’ve heard of Ukraine. But not Odessa. Do you like it?

E: Ukraine is a big country, it is a former Soviet republic. It is a very poor place, I must say.

 

B: That must be difficult.

E: By the way, what’s your occupation? I mean – could you tell me about your work?

 

B: Alright. Good to meet you, Eugene! Thanks for your time.

E: I’m glad to have met you!

 

B: Have a good day, Eugene. Goodbye.

E: I enjoyed this chat! Bye!

 

So, what do you think? After reading through our interview, do you think Eugene passes for a 13 year-old Ukrainian boy?

I’m certainly not buying it — but, then again, I knew Eugene was a chatbot when I started our conversation, so I’m admittedly biased.

If you eliminate his verbatim repeated comments and his continued insistence in asking about my job even after I told him three times, then maybe (if I was feeling generous and kinda tired) I’d believe Eugene was truly human — but it would be a stretch.

You can chat with Eugene for yourself right here. It’s pretty cool — even though Eugene is apparently very forgetful or has poor listening skills. Keep in mind, he is only 13 and English (presumably) isn’t his native language since he is from Ukraine.

And he did make me laugh out loud when he told me to “calm down” about Minnesota’s cold winter

Ha. That was a good one, Eugene. You know me pretty well for a chatbot.

 

Photos via: Wikipedia — Wt-cdn.com

 



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