ChatterBots, TinyMuds, and the Turing Test: Entering the Loebner Prize Competition

Michael L. Mauldin

The Turing Test was proposed by Alan Turing in 1950; he called it the Imitation Game. In 1991 Hugh Loebner started the Loebner prize competition, offering a 100,000 prize to the author of the first computer program to pass an unrestricted Turing test. Annual competitions are held each year with smaller prizes for the best program on a restricted Turing test. This paper describes the development of one such Turing System, including the technical design of the program and its performance on the first three Loebner Prize competitions. We also discuss the program’s four year development effort, which has depended heavily on constant interaction with people on the Internet via Tinymuds (multiuser network communication servers). Finally, we discuss the design of the Loebner competition itself, and address its usefulness in furthering the development of Artificial Intelligence.

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