Earlier this year, researchers announced a new Artificial Intelligence system, GPT-2, that can finish people’s sentences. The resulting text is relatively coherent but, as the researchers note, far from perfect. Word repetition is one problem; describing the impossible (such as a fire underwater) is another; and sentences are prone to strange topic changes.
In 1990 Hugh Loebner inaugurated the Loebner Prize for Artificial Intelligence, awarded annually to the computer chat program, or ‘chatbot’, that can most convincingly mimic the typed conversation of a human being. Loebner says it’s ‘the first formal instantiation’ of a Turing test; Marvin Minsky, one of the pioneers of AI, has called it ‘obnoxious and stupid’.