Artificial Stupidity

This article will whip your head around a couple of times… take it slowly, and don’t stop until you get to the Looney Tunes references. “To mainstream researchers, Loebner is a self-aggrandizing fool and his contest is hokum: at best irrelevant and at worst a public disservice that encourages bad science….. [T]he closer one looks at the history of the Loebner Prize, the more it appears that Loebner’s real offense was showing up the biggest stars in “real” artificial intelligence as a bunch of phonies. Thirty years ago, Minsky and other A.I. researchers were declaring that the problem of artificial intelligence would be solved in less than a decade. But they were wrong, and every year the failure of computer programs to get anywhere close to winning the Loebner Prize underlines just how spectacularly off the mark they were.” John Sundman

[Sundman identifies himself as a technophobic cynic, but he clearly had so much fun writing this piece that his allegiances don’t really matter. This character study of Loebner is a peach: “Loebner has many enthusiasms. He likes prostitutes. He likes marijuana. He likes pornography. He likes the Loebner Prize. He likes wine and fine paintings. And he likes Hugh Loebner. He spoke enthusiastically about all those things. But I was surprised to learn that he didn’t seem to care much about artificial intelligence, per se. |His interest in the field has always been pragmatic, he told me, never philosophical. He’s a hedonist who thinks work is an abomination and sloth is our greatest virtue. He got interested in A.I. because he hoped the day would come when robots and A.I.’s could do all the work and people could play all the time.” That line sounds like something from R.U.R. Except for the parts about prostitutes, pornography, and marijuana. –DGJ —Artificial StupiditySalon)