For the first time an artificial intelligence was smart enough to pass the Turing Test, which was designed to spot robot answers trying to sound human. This AI tricked people into thinking it was human by answering the questions like a person.
The 65-year old Turing Test was passed in a world first by a supercomputer character called Eugene Goostman. The character, a 13 year old boy, was developed in Russia. This was one of five supercomputers entered in the competition, and the only to succeed.
The Turing Test was developed by mathematician and code-breaker Alan Turing based on the question "Can machines think?". The first time this test was beaten will be on the date that marks the 60th anniversary of Turing's death. The test questions are answered by people and machines. It's down to human judges to decide if each question was answered by a human or a machine.
The competition to beat the test was organised by Reading University's School of Systems Engineering department. Professor Kevin Warwick, a Visiting Professor at the University of Reading said: "Some will claim that the Test has already been passed. The words Turing Test have been applied to similar competitions around the world. However this event involved the most simultaneous comparison tests than ever before, was independently verified and, crucially, the conversations were unrestricted."
This milestone in artificial intelligence represents a huge jump in the path towards a blended human and machine world. Right now this intelligence should be able to help combat cyber-crime. In the future it could make for the perfect butler service. Then, of course, there's the robot overlord possibility – but we're going to avoid giving that too much thought.