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HAPPENINGText: Mark Griffith

I know this because I tried some topics (such as topic 9: ‘Tell me about the Turing Test‘) several times. The two talking heads have a suspicious tendency (at least suspicious to anyone with half an idea of how these programs are put together) to degenerate into quarreling, with the two chatterbots (again and again) accusing each other of being stupid and boring.

But the Turing Test, judging by the delicately spotlit manifesto on one wall, was an important inspiration in creating this exhibit for Szegedy-Maszak, Langh and Fernezelyi. Alan Turing, English mathematician and codebreaker, wrote about this test in 1950 (as the chatterbots never tire of reminding us) as a way of proving computers have become truly intelligent.

Once a true artificial intelligence (AI) had been created, wrote Turing, perhaps by the end of the century (in other words, by about now) we would know because it would be able to pass this simulation test.

The test would involve a computer and a person, each in a separate room, communicating over a text terminal with a human judge. Once the human judge can no longer decide (after some period such as an hour) who is the human and who is the computer – with only the text output to distinguish by – then the computer can be said to have true artificial intelligence. In other words, computers will be really intelligent when they can bluff.

So when you have two computers – or two computer programs – nattering away with each other, the moot question is: who is fooling whom?

The Hungarian designers, who chose spoken English for the sound because they found the Hungarian word-endings harder to work with, set themselves an extra challenge.

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