Chatbot fools judge into thinking its human

Some of you might remember when we covered the Actroid-F, a robot that looks pretty human. Now, someone has created a chatbot that has fooled a judge to think that it sounds human.

For those unfamiliar with a chatbot, it is “a computer program designed to simulate an intelligent conversation with one or more human users via auditory or textual methods”. This is not a picture of a chatbot, by the way, this is a shot from Bot Colony, a computer game that relies heavily on chatbot technology that I encountered at E3 last year.

A programmer by the name of Bruce Wilcox designed a chatbot known as Suzette, and it managed to fool a judge after a 25 minute conversation. Wilcox won a $3,000 prize and a Loebner award for his efforts.

The test involves something that sounds like the opening scene of Blade Runner, where questions are asked and judges tally how “human” the responses are. It is similar to a Turning Test, or the test of a machine’s ability to demonstrate intelligence.

The good chatbots know how to sound human by straying off-subject just like a human. It sort of makes me wonder about some of the IM chats I’ve had. In the future, will we know if there is a real person behind the texts?