Sunday, January 16th | 15 Shevat 5782

September 27, 2012 7:40 am

Israeli Experiment Pits Man vs. Computer

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"Deep Blue," an IBM computer similar to the one pictured here, defeated chess world champion Garry Kasparov in May 1997. Credit: Wiki Commons.

More than two-thirds of participants in an experiment held in Israel on Sept. 24 could not tell the difference between a person and a computer.

In a game show simulation of the “Turing test,” in which the audience had to deduce whether answers to trivia questions were provided by a human or a machine, the audience witnessed multiple contestants: Intel Israel CEO Maxine Fassberg, Israeli model Adi Neuman, Israel Space Agency chairman Professor Yitzhak Ben-Israel, and student representative Jonathan Bonatzel. The contestants were asked assorted trivia questions by TV host Avri Gilad, ranging from general knowledge to emotional intelligence and life experience. One of the contestants was fed answers from a computer; the rest answered to the best of their knowledge.

The audience then voted on who they thought was the computer among them. The more than 2,500 votes showed that 27 percent correctly identified the student’s answers to be computer-generated; one-third thought Professor Ben-Israel was the machine; 22 percent thought it was model Adi Neuman; and 21 percent thought it was the Intel CEO.

“Since the majority of the participants did not correctly identify the computer, it shows they thought it was a human, and therefore with some reservation it can be said the computer passed the Turing test, at least for this event,” Israeli Science and Technology Minister Professor Daniel Hershkowitz said.

There are a few notable machines that have successfully mimicked and defeated human intelligence, including IBM’s “Deep Blue,” the supercomputer that defeated Russian Chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.

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