Computer scientist Alan Turing's infamous Turing test--possibly the thing he's known best for out of a long resume--is a simple, solid bar for artificial intelligence that's held up since the 1950s. But this weekend that bar was nearly reached. Judges surveyed in the largest-ever Turing competition agreed 29 percent of the time that Eugene Goostman was a 13-year-old boy, and that was good enough for the chatbot to win.
Sure, you can make a robot walk or cook or even play beer pong, but can you make a robot friendly? Ben-Gurion University of the Negev wants to know, so the Israeli university will host the world's first international competition to build a robot that can shake a human hand.
After 50 years and countless dead ends, incremental progress, and modest breakthroughs, artificial intelligence researchers are asking for a do-over. The $5 million Mind Machine Project (MMP), a patchwork team of two dozen academics, students and researchers, intends to go back to the discipline's beginnings, rebuilding the field from the ground up.