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The Loebner Prize


The Loebner Prize is an annual competition in Artificial Intelligence to find the chatbot considered by the judges to be the most human-like. The format of the competition is based on the Turing test, named after the famous British mathematician and computer pioneer Alan Turing who proposed the test in a 1950 paper entitled Computing Machinery and Intelligence. A human judge conducts conversations, via a computer keyboard, with a computer program and with a human being. Based on the responses the judge decides which is which, and in the Loebner Prize competition the judges rank each of their conversation partners from most humanlike to least humanlike. The computer program with the highest average ranking wins the competition and is awarded a medal and a cash prize ($3,000 in 2009).

This prize was inaugurated in 1990 by Dr. Hugh Loebner in collaboration with the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies in Massachusetts, in order to encourage advances in human-computer conversation, an important topic in Artificial Intelligence. In Turing’s 1950 paper he asked the question "Can a Machine Think?" He answered in the affirmative and raised a second crucial question: "If a computer could think, how could we tell?" Turing's suggestion was that, if the responses from the computer were indistinguishable from those of a human, the computer could be said to be thinking. He predicted that by the year 2000 "an average interrogator will not have more than a 70 percent chance of making the right identification after five minutes of questioning." In every round of the 2009 Loebner Prize competition each of four judges spent five minutes conversing with one of the chatbot programs and five minutes conversing with a human, thereby testing Turing’s prediction.

None of the programs in Brighton managed to convince the judges that it was human but Do-Much-More came the closest, edging out two-time winner Rollo Carpenter of the UK whose program finished in second place.

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Copyright © 2017 David N. L. Levy