One of my pastimes as a technology enthusiast has been trying out various chatbots, such as Alice, ELIZA, and MegaHAL, to see how realistic they were. I had always been a fan of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and wanted to see firsthand how close current technology was to approaching that of HAL 9000, minus the homicidal tendencies. Unfortunately, while these chatbots were amusing, none of them approached the level of HAL 9000, in terms of realistic dialogue. Moreover, none of them were able to pass what is known as the Turing Test, a test devised by mathematician Alan Turing in the 1950s to answer the question, in his words, "Are there imaginable digital computers which would do well in the imitation game?" (The imitation game being, essentially, a game to imitate a thinking human.)
Now, a chatbot has finally passed the Turing Test. It did so on June 7, 2014, and is called Eugene Goostman. It is a simulation of a 13 year old kid living in Ukraine. Well, how about that! I wonder if this can be commercialized somehow, and if the chatbot can be upgraded to an adult's level of comprehension for some sort of practical application. For more information, check out the video.