Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pandorabots Rock the 2011 Loebner Competition!

Exciting news from
- Pandorabots made history at the 2011 Loebner Competition:

"For the first time in its history the Loebner Prize included a separate prize known as the Junior Loebner Prize in which the judging panel consisted of students between 12 and 14 years old. Our team's two entries, Zoe by Adeena Mignogna and Tutor by Ron C. Lee, tied for first place in the Junior contest. Zoe also came in second place in the main contest. Also this was the first time two finalists used the same platform, Pandorabots. Adeena, Ron, Steve Worswick, and Pandorabots engineering staff all worked together to make it a team effort.

The main contest was as usual judged by scientists, technology experts and journalists.  Typically the judges try to give the bots an IQ test with questions like, "How many syllables in the word banana?" or "Which is bigger a small mountain or a large tooth?" (not very good icebreakers in ordinary human conversation--can these judges carry on a conversation with a person?) and predictably once again the bots are pronounced "disappointing".   The junior judges have more fun with the bots, suspend their disbelief more easily, and engage in casual chat using internet slang, saying "LOL", "Wassup?" and "What did you have for breakfast?" instead of giving an IQ test.   It is as if the scientists are testing to see how much a human is like a computer, and the kids are testing to see how much the computer is like a human.

Bruce Wilcox, the winner of last year's Loebner Prize bronze medal once again took the award in the main contest this year.   No bot has yet been awarded the silver medal for passing the Turing Test."

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