How relevant is the Loebner prize in the field of AI?

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The Loebner prize is an annual competition in artificial intelligence (AI) where judges simultaneously have text based conversations with a computer program and a human being via a computer and they have to guess which one is which. The prize was first launched in 1990. 

The competition is based on the Turing test, named after the scientist widely considered to be the father of computing and AI, and was set up by New York businessman Hugh Loebner.

The 2018 Loebner prize final is being held at Bletchley Park, where during the Second World War Turing helped crack the code on the German Enigma machines. Four contestants have made it to the 2018 finals, being held on September 8 and WikiTribune will be attending.

Questions this article should seek to answer:

  • Why is the Loebner prize useful in charting the progress of AI?
  • What are the criticisms of the Loebner prize?
  • How could the prize be improved?
  • Has the Turing test already been passed (see Vox article) and if not when will it be?

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Secured interviews

  • Steve Worswick, creator of chatbot ‘Mitsuku’, who has won the Loebner Prize three times and is one of the four contestants at this year’s final

Proposed interviews

  • Ron Lee, creator of ‘Tutor’ – one of the four contestants at this year’s final
  • Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Sheffield
  • Hector Levesque, a critic of the Loebener prize and a University of Toronto computer scientist

Proposed questions for any interviewees

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