Computer Program Named Eugene Passes the Turing Test

Some fascinating news in the artificial intelligence world: the Turing test was passed for the first time, ever, at The University of Reading this month. The news is all the more interesting because the test was passed with a program simulating a 13-year-old boy named Eugene:

The 65 year-old iconic Turing Test was passed for the very first time by supercomputer Eugene Goostman during Turing Test 2014 held at the renowned Royal Society in London on Saturday.

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‘Eugene’, a computer programme that simulates a 13 year old boy, was developed in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The development team includes Eugene’s creator Vladimir Veselov, who was born in Russia and now lives in the United States, and Ukrainian born Eugene Demchenko who now lives in Russia.

The Turing Test is based on 20th century mathematician and code-breaker Turing’s 1950 famous question and answer game, ‘Can Machines Think?’. The experiment investigates whether people can detect if they are talking to machines or humans. The event is particularly poignant as it took place on the 60th anniversary of Turing’s death, nearly six months after he was given a posthumous royal pardon.

If a computer is mistaken for a human more than 30% of the time during a series of five minute keyboard conversations it passes the test. No computer has ever achieved this, until now. Eugene managed to convince 33% of the human judges that it was human.

This historic event was organised by the University’s School of Systems Engineering in partnership with RoboLaw, an EU-funded organisation examining the regulation of emerging robotic technologies.

Professor Kevin Warwick, a Visiting Professor at the University of Reading and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research at Coventry University, said: “In the field of Artificial Intelligence there is no more iconic and controversial milestone than the Turing Test, when a computer convinces a sufficient number of interrogators into believing that it is not a machine but rather is a human. It is fitting that such an important landmark has been reached at the Royal Society in London, the home of British Science and the scene of many great advances in human understanding over the centuries. This milestone will go down in history as one of the most exciting.

Read more: What is the Turing Test and why does it matter?

Sophia Amoruso’s Advice For Millennials

New York Magazine has a feature on Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal, and her memoir, #GIRLBOSS. This is some very good advice for millenials:

Amoruso has loads of advice about the workplace, all of it shrewd and unsweetened. Don’t ask for a promotion until you’ve held a job for a year; don’t mistake your boss for a friend; fight the natural human impulse to consider yourself an exception; and never have your phone visible during a job interview. Don’t compliment your interviewer’s outfit, because “making small talk about what someone is wearing is just another form of unsolicited feedback.” Spell-check your cover letters, for fuck’s sake. These rules may seem rudimentary to anyone born before 1982, but they’re aimed at millennial-specific bad manners. A #GIRLBOSS would never take a funeral selfie or wear pajamas on an airplane.

If there’s one generational habit that galls Amoruso more than informality, it’s entitlement. Even as a thief, she was diligent. “A lot of people in my generation don’t seem to get that you have to work your way up,” she writes. “I don’t care if filing invoices is beneath you. If you don’t do it, who do you think is going to? Your boss? Nope. That’s why she hired you.”

Read the rest here.

David Sedaris Book Signing at A Cappella Books in Atlanta, GA

Whilst I was walking in Atlanta yesterday, I stumbled upon a bookstore called A Cappella Books. While I didn’t end up going inside, I put it on my radar to check out in depth in a future visit.

Today, I browsed the bookstore’s website and saw that A Capella Books is hosting David Sedaris (one of my favourite writers) for a book signing for Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls on June 16, 2014 at 7PM. You can purchase a copy of the book on Amazon (or don’t, actually*), or get it through A Cappella Books’s website for $17 (signed by David Sedaris).

I’m looking forward to this event. If you’re in Atlanta, I hope you can make it too.

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*Based on the recent controversy with Amazon and Hachette, David Sedaris suggests getting his book(s) at an actual store, like A Cappella Books:

If you don’t want to go to a store, or if you don’t want to use some other website to buy the book, then don’t buy the book. Don’t do it. Get something else you can get on Amazon, like a toaster or thermal socks. I think they sell those. Go ahead. Don’t get my book. Get a flashlight instead.

For further reading on this blog:

(1) “On Guest Rooms and Conversation Snippets”

(2) David Sedaris on Socialized Medicine

On Art Galleries in Trucks

Since the rise of the food truck scene, the trend for mobile (fill-in-the-blank) has been going (presumably) more mainstream. The New York Times has a great article on a recent trend of galleries in trucks.

While statistics on mobile galleries are hard to come by, social media shows the trend catching on in Los Angeles; Seattle; Santa Fe, N.M.; Tampa Bay, Fla.; Chicago; and even Alberta, where a ’60s teardrop-red trailer presents works from a changing lineup of local artists. Pinterest boards show a range of designs on pages dedicated to mobile galleries, and Twitter is full of people advertising their whereabouts with hashtags such as #keeptrucking. Ann Fensterstock, a lecturer on contemporary art and the author of “Art on the Block,” a history of New York art galleries, said these galleries are “part of the zeitgeist of this moment in art creating.” Critics, however, point out that artists may not be taken seriously without gallery backing. This is hardly the first time American artists have gone mobile. Before opening a gallery in the East Village, Gracie Mansion staged her “Limo Show” in 1981 in a rented limousine, parked in SoHo, where she invited passers-by into the back seat for Champagne while she pitched her friends’ art.

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If one doesn’t care for the commercialization (selling) of art, this movement makes sense:

Ms. Fensterstock agreed that the truck model has limitations. “It doesn’t make for return business; it doesn’t make for contemplation of the art by spending time with it; it doesn’t make for building a strong commercial place out of which the art gets sold,” she said.