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Happy Anniversary, Alan Turing!

a.t.Alan Mathison Turing is broadly acknowledged as the father of artificial intelligence – the human-like intelligence exhibited by machines and software. He was born 103 years ago, on 23rd of June. To celebrate his anniversary, here are some essential bits of information on artificial intelligence. Enjoy reading!

An “intelligent” machine

According to Turing, a computer can be considered to “think” if, in a conversation between a human and a machine, the human could not tell if he’s talking to a human or a computer. An intelligent machine is also able to perceive its environment and take actions to maximize its success.

Educate or replicate?

Turing believed that, instead of building a complex program to mimic the adult mind, it would be better to create a simple one to simulate a child’s mind and then educate it.

Can computers pretend to be human? 

Widely used on the Internet, the CAPTCHA test is based on a reversed form of the Turing Test. The goal of both the Turing Test and the CAPTCHA is to distinguish between a human and a computer.

Note: A Turing test consists of blind 5-minute text-conversations between human judges on one side, and computers or humans, on the other. If 30 percent of the human judges cannot tell a machine from a human, the computer can be said to possess artificial intelligence.

In June 2014, the first computer program passed the Turing test.

Eugene Goostman, a computer program pretending to be a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy, convinced enough judges it was human to pass the Turing test in June, marking the first breakthrough in the famous Turing test, as reported by the Independent.

Security software on your PC is artificially intelligent

It may be hard to imagine, but a form of artificial intelligence is making decisions for you on your computer or smart phone while you are reading this text. For instance, Bitdefender communicates with a data-center where artificial intelligence engages complex mathematical algorithms to process huge amounts of data and filter malicious files from clean ones.

These technologies make use of machine learning, decision trees, neural networks, and Boltzmann algorithms, analyze enormous volumes of data, evaluate file characteristics to separate malicious and clean software or behavior, make associations and comparisons without human intervention. And, on top of that, artificial intelligence supervises other artificial intelligence implementations to make sure that everything works as planned. Welcome to the future!

Stephen Hawking on the benefits and risks of AI technology

 Talks about artificial intelligence are as fervent today as they were in Turing’s time. Apart from the obvious benefits, Physicist Stephen Hawking also grasps the risks of such complex technology.

“Recent landmarks such as self-driving cars, a computer winning at “Jeopardy!,” and the digital personal assistants Siri, Google Now, and Cortana are merely symptoms of an IT arms race fuelled by unprecedented investments and building on an increasingly mature theoretical foundation,”  the physicist says in a Business Insider article.

“One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand. Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.”

About the author

Alexandra GHEORGHE

Alexandra started writing about IT at the dawn of the decade - when an iPad was an eye-injury patch, we were minus Google+ and we all had Jobs. She has since wielded her background in PR and marketing communications to translate binary code to colorful stories that have been known to wear out readers' mouse scrolls. Alexandra is also a social media enthusiast who 'likes' only what she likes and LOLs only when she laughs out loud.

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  • I had just finished watching the film The Imitation Game on the day of his anniversary. What a coincidence! Truly one of the great thinkers of the past century. An inventor and a hero. Wish I can be of service to the world too. Great guy.