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Ask the Turing Test robot a question

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Eugene Goostman, a "typical" 13-year-old boy, has suddenly found worldwide fame after successfully passing the Turing Test.

The only trouble is, he's a robot.

But, apparently, in a recent experiment conducted under stringent conditions to test the theory, at least one third of participants were fooled into believing that the teenager they were conversing with (over the web) was a real, live human being.

The Turing Test, of course, is that famous postulation, posed by UK science genius Alan Turing in the 1950s, in which he predicted that humans would one day converse with machines as they do with one another.

He proposed a test in which people would converse with a stranger (via keyboard) and, if at least one third of the subjects believed they were communicating with a real, live person, the moment of machine intelligence merging with human consciousness would finally arrive.

The creators of Eugene Goostman admit to a sly twist on the test, by making the robot a teenager who, like many at that age, believes he knows everything. So, immature or misinformed answers would seem natural, coming from a boy who clearly doesn't know much.

Apparently, that was the hook which carried the crucial one third needed to successfully pass the Turing Test.

And, now, Eugene Goostman is online, ready to take all questions.

The page (be warned - the site is experiencing heavy traffic) opens to a simple search box, next to an avatar of a somewhat snarky looking teen, and questions can be entered as easily as searching on Google.

It's the answers that provide the most interesting glimpse inside the mind of a machine, some even bordering on the bizarre.

One noticeable hitch in the plan is the instantaneous answers typed back by the "teenager" Goostman. It's something no real human could imitate, so it's questionable why so many intelligent people were fooled.

But, it's just the kind of thing one would expect from a 13-year-old know it all.

To ask Eugene Goostman a question, click here.

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