ARTFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

As the creator and former director of the annual Loebner Prize Competition in Artificial Intelligence (first held in 1991), Dr. Epstein brought together some of the most eminent thinkers in the world—W. V. Quine, I. Bernard Cohen, Ray Kurzweil, Daniel Dennett, Joseph Weizenbaum, Oliver Selfridge, Allen Newell, and others—to design and oversee a contest to find the world's first "thinking" computer, along the lines suggested by computer pioneer Alan Turing in 1950. With Gary Roberts and Grace Beber, Dr. Epstein has recently edited a comprehensive volume called Parsing the Turing Test: Philosophical and Methodical Issues in the Quest for the Thinking Computer, which reviews the status of Turing's provocative predictions.

"PARSING THE TURING TEST is a landmark exploration of both the philosophical and methodological issues surrounding the search for true artificial intelligence. Will computers and robots ever think and communicate the way humans do? When a computer crosses the threshold into self-consciousness, will it immediately jump into the Internet and create a World Mind? Will intelligent computers someday recognize the rather doubtful intelligence of human beings? Distinguished psychologists, computer scientists, philosophers, and programmers from around the world debate these weighty issues – and, in effect, the future of the human race – in this important volume."


In the June/July 2006 issue of Scientific American Mind, Dr. Epstein explored this issue in the context of describing his "date" in Japan with a beautiful robot. To download the article, "My Date with a Robot," click here.

For a related video clip, which has had more than 2.5 million views on YouTube, click here. To read Dr. Epstein's latest article on this topic, "From Russia, with Love: How I Got Fooled (and Somewhat Humiliated) by a Computer," click here.

Dr. Epstein is available to give talks on this topic.