Vladimir Veselov Wins 2012 Turing Test: 13-Year-Old Chatbot Eugene Goostman Fools Judges

06/27/2012 11:36 am ET | Updated Jun 09, 2014
  • www.theverge.com

When you're messaged by one of those annoying Internet chatbots, you can usually tell right away that there's no one on the other side of the screen. But Eugene Goostman, a bot with the personality of a 13-year-old boy, fooled 30 judges at this year's Turing test competition into thinking there was someone one the other side — and took first place.

"Thirteen years old is not too old to know everything and not too young to know nothing," said Vladimir Veselov, the New Jersey-based man who created Eugene.

The competition took place in Milton Keynes, U.K., on June 23 — the 100th birthday of Alan Turing, the man who famously cracked the Nazi's Enigma machine code during WWII. In the 1950s, Turing invented a test for machines with artificial intelligence. According to him, if a machine could fool you into thinking it was also human at least 30% of the time, it could be considered intelligent.

Though Eugene won the competition, he actually fell short of passing that test by only fooling the judges 29% of the time. The judges interacted with 25 humans, who were hidden, and five competing chatbots for a total of 150 conversations.

But fellow contenders agreed that Eugene was special. According to the New Scientist, Veselov has given Eugene a distinct personality, while his competitors weren't as consistent.

"He has created very much a person where [my bot] is everybody," said Rollo Carpenter, who invented the third-place winner Cleverbot.

Eugene also has a background story. He lives in Odessa, Ukraine, has a father who is a gynecologist and owns a guinea pig for a pet.

Do you think you would be fooled? You can try Eugene out yourself here.

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