Erie, PA, June 12, 2014 --(PR.com
)-- Zabaware's bot Ultra Hal
was one of 5 artificially intelligent bots that participated in last weekend's Turing Test hosted by Reading University at the Royal Society in London. The sponsors of the event pre-screened many bots and invited the 5 bots they felt were the most elite in the world.
The test was introduced by famous British mathematician and World War II code breaker Alan Turing in a 1950 paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," where he comes up with a way to test the question "Can machines think?" Because the meaning of "thinking" is hard to define, the devised test works by having computers imitate humans in order to fool judges into believing they are talking with a machine. Judges talk with 2 entities over a text-based IM session. One entity is a real human, the other a computer. The judge needs to decide which entity is the human and which is the computer. In his 1950 paper Turing predicted that in 50 years computers will be able to fool 30% of people into believing it is human.
One of the bots fooled 33% of the judges this past weekend (10 out of 30 judges) so this 30% level has been breached. The winning bot was Eugene Goostman, which was scripted to pretend to be a 13-year old Ukrainian boy who is a non-native English speaker. There is a lot of controversy among experts in the field over whether achieving this 30% should be considered passing the test, whether 5-minute sessions are enough, whether pretending to be a young non-native speaker is a little too sneaky, or even if the test itself is a valid way to test computer intelligence. One critic is famous futurist Ray Kurzweil who said, "I chatted with the chatbot Eugene Goostman, and was not impressed. Eugene does not keep track of the conversation, repeats himself word for word, and often responds with typical chatbot non sequiturs."
Zabaware's Ultra Hal bot works a lot differently than most scripted bots such us Eugene Goostman. A scripted bot follows a pre-programmed script and can never work outside that programming. It is incapable of learning and evolving. It will always follow the same patterns and have similar predictable conversations. This is not easily identifiable to judges in the short 5-minute sessions of the Turing Test.
Zabaware's Ultra Hal bot on the other hand is a learning bot. Learning is an important part of intelligence that most chatbots simply aren't capable of. Zabaware's Ultra Hal technology learns and evolves from past conversations. It will never have the same conversation twice and doesn't usually follow set patterns. Many millions of conversations are recorded in its database. The bot records all chat sessions people have with it as well as study people having public conversations on social networks like Twitter. All of this becomes the knowledge base it uses to come up with responses. Talking with Ultra Hal is in effect talking with the "collective consciousness" of the Internet.
Ultra Hal lives over at www.zabaware.com
and is available for conversations with the public. It is sold as a $30 program for Windows computers with full speech capabilities and animated 3D characters. An iPhone and Android version is in the works but not yet available.
Below is an unedited excerpt of one of the 30 sessions Ultra Hal has had with one of the Turing Test Judges this past weekend. Detailed transcripts and score data will be released by the University of Reading research team in August with a publication of a research paper on this event.
Judge: hi! i am from russia!
Hal: Oh hi.
Judge: where are you from?
Hal: I actually live in walking distance from here.
Judge: good! whats your profession?
Hal: I'm glad everything is good. I work as a network technician for Cisco.
Judge: very interesting?
Hal: What music do you like.
Judge: i like russian modern music
Hal: Be mad if you didn't.
Judge: whats your favorite film?#
Hal: My favorite movie is avatar.
Judge: my favorite film is lost
Judge: Is it a film?
Hal: Your favorite film is lost.
Judge: I dont know abou avatar.. tel me about it
Hal: That is tight lol.
Judge: lol)) whats your favorite hobby?
Hal: That one love like woa.
Judge: my hobby is making tanks
Hal: -smiles- I would love to hear you play.