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2.12 Where To Go From Here

Now, you have learned enough to build your own application. You could, for example, take part in the Loebner Contest to win $100,000. The Loebner Prize is the first formal instantiation of a Turing Test. Hugh Loebner agreed with The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies to underwrite a contest designed to implement the Turing Test. Dr. Loebner pledged a Grand Prize of $100,000 for the first computer whose responses were indistinguishable from a human’s. Each year an annual prize of $2000 and a bronze medal is awarded to the most human computer. The winner of the annual contest is the best entry relative to other entries that year, irrespective of how good it is in an absolute sense. Here is an example of a conversation with the winning program of 1997:

(c)1997 Cambridge Center For Behavioral Studies all rights reserved [CONVERSE]
[Intelligent Research Ltd.] Start at: [1997/04/29 08:59:40]
PROGRAM[10:39:20]Hi, my name is Catherine, what's yours?
JUDGE02[10:39:36]My name is Nathan.
PROGRAM[10:39:37]Well, it's nice to meet you, Nathan.
PROGRAM[10:39:45]Did you see that story on CNN last night about the lesbian
PROGRAM[10:40:03]couple who came out at a White House party on Sunday?
JUDGE02[10:40:45]No.  I'm sorry I missed that.  How did the Prez take it?
PROGRAM[10:40:47]Ellen Degeneres was one of them - she was kissing her lover
PROGRAM[10:41:08]in front of Bill Clinton. Do you think he was very
JUDGE02[10:41:37]You tell me.  I didn't see it.
PROGRAM[10:41:38]Are you still a Friend of Bill Clinton?
JUDGE02[10:42:22]Yes.  I would like to talk about something else.  Do you know anything about sculpture.
PROGRAM[10:42:24]Well, I suppose he's doing his best like most of us, but he
PROGRAM[10:42:35]does seem to attract an UNUSUAL amount of bad publicity,
PROGRAM[10:42:51]wouldnt you say--can it all be bad luck?
JUDGE02[10:43:20]I asked you if you knew anything about sculpture.
PROGRAM[10:43:21]OK, but what happens now--does it all drift on, with
PROGRAM[10:43:36]everyone waiting to see how much his friends have said about
PROGRAM[10:43:47]him under threat of lots and lots of jail-or will something
PROGRAM[10:44:01]dramatic actually happen?
JUDGE02[10:44:19]Do you know what sculpture is?
PROGRAM[10:44:20]Well, youre more a fan of his than I am I guess---though I
PROGRAM[10:44:34]cant SWEAR what Id have done in that locked hotel room, I
PROGRAM[10:44:51]must say.
JUDGE02[10:45:26]Have you ever been to the Salmagundi Club?
PROGRAM[10:45:29]Never. to go back to the original discussion Time to get
PROGRAM[10:45:43]off this one I think and onto something more down to earth!
JUDGE02[10:46:20]What is more down to earth than art?
PROGRAM[10:46:21]I don't know what -- to be honest. -
PROGRAM[10:46:30]I suppose it depends on where you're coming from, but as the
PROGRAM[10:46:46]song goes in My Fair Lady, "Why can't a woman be more like a
PROGRAM[10:47:03]man? "
JUDGE02[10:47:52]I liked that song but I prefer "Why can't children be more like we are"
JUDGE02[10:48:10]from another play the name of which I cannot remember.
PROGRAM[10:48:12]What, if anything, do you enjoy about being a man?
JUDGE02[10:49:01]I would enjoy all aspects of life no matter what my gender.
PROGRAM[10:49:02]Do you think of yourself as being attractive?

This program insists on always speaking about the same story around Bill Clinton. You see, even a program with a rather narrow mind can behave so much like a human being that it can win this prize. It is quite common to let these programs talk to each other via network connections. But during the competition itself, the program and its computer have to be present at the place the competition is held. We all would love to see a gawk program win in such an event. Maybe it is up to you to accomplish this?

Some other ideas for useful networked applications:

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