A program built by Russian experts is the first to pass the Turing Test, which requires that some observers be unable to tell the difference between it and a human — and academics are worried about the implications for cybercrime.

The program was named Eugene Goostman and presented as a 13-year-old boy from Ukraine. During its test at the Royal Society in London, it convinced 33 percent of its judges that it was human, 3 percent more than the test requires.

The Independent reports:

The programme’s success is likely to prompt some concerns about the future of computing, said Kevin Warwick, a visiting professor at the University of Reading and deputy vice-chancellor for research at Coventry University.

“In the field of Artificial Intelligence there is no more iconic and controversial milestone than the Turing Test, when a computer convinces a sufficient number of interrogators into believing that it is not a machine but rather is a human,” he said. “Having a computer that can trick a human into thinking that someone, or even something, is a person we trust is a wake-up call to cybercrime.

“The Turing Test is a vital tool for combatting that threat. It is important to understand more fully how online, real-time communication of this type can influence an individual human in such a way that they are fooled into believing something is true… when in fact it is not.”

The test takes its name from Alan Turing, a British computer scientist who helped crack Nazi communication codes during World War II and did pioneering work in artificial intelligence.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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