Back in the early days of computing, one of computing’s giants pondered artificial intelligence. He decided not to try to define intelligence, because it’s too complex. On the other hand, he did come up with something just as good. Today we call it the Turing Test. In 1950 Alan Turing proposed an “imitation game” where a computer would try to convince a human that the computer was human.
Now, over 60 years later, a computer has succeeded. A Russian program pretended to be a 13 year old boy well enough to fool judges 30% of the time. I’m sure that a program has fooled some people before (heck, a friend of mine was convinced that Eliza was real), but this is the first time that a program has succeeded in an official test. This has large implications for Artificial Intelligence in the future.
Update (June 15) The program wasn’t all that impressive.