Mitsuku chatbot has good answers for the Loebner Prize
PostedSeptember 18, 2013
A chatbot named Mitsuku has won the Loebner Prize 2013, announced over the weekend, beating out three other contestants for the top prize of a bronze medal and $4,000. Mitsuku’s creator is Steve Worswick, Mitsuku’s botmaster. But wait a minute. What is a chatbot? A chatbot is a humanlike character with conversational skills which is simulated through artificial intelligence. Eliza, back in 1964 and 1966, was the first step into programmed chatterbots, designed to simulate a conversation with one or more human users. The Eliza program was based on a human mode of interaction typified by a Rogerian therapist trained not to make any creative input to a conversation, but instead only to keep it going so that patients could explore their own feelings. “Talking to Rogerian therapist is very like talking to a brick wall with a slightly clever echo,” wrote Mike James in iProgrammer.
But wait another minute. What is the Loebner Prize? This is an annual competition created by businessman Hugh Loebner. The competition is an embodiment of the Turing-test affair; the chatbots try to fool the judges into assessing their answers are from humans. With reference to mathematician Alan Turing in the 1950s, the contest sets out to stage an event around Turing’s suggestion that if a computer answered questions as convincing as a human could, then the machine could reasonably be said to be thinking.
The Turing Test emerged as a way to assess the intelligence of computer programs. Loebner has offered a prize of $100,000 for the computer program that meets Turing’s standard for artificial intelligence but no chatbot creator has ever achieved that level and the top-tier cash has gone unclaimed.