The Most Human Human

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 June, 2011, 12:00am


The Most Human Human
by Brian Christian
Random House Audio (audiobook)

Even the experts can get it wrong, as Robert Epstein discovered in 2007. The founder of the Loebner Prize Competition, in which robots compete with human 'confederates' in a game of imitation, spent four months exchanging love letters with a Russian woman he 'met' through an online dating service. 'Ivana', Epstein eventually realised, was a computer program. Computers are close to proving Alan Turing's 1950 prediction that they will be able to fool 30 per cent of human judges after five minutes of conversation. At the Loebner challenge, the winning computer (none has yet hit the 30 per cent mark) is conferred the title 'Most Human Computer', and the confederate who persuades the most judges that he is of flesh and bone is called the 'Most Human Human'. In 2009 Brian Christian, a poet schooled in computer science, entered the contest. His self-narrated book looks at, among other things, language, speed dating, chess and telephone customer service to see if being human means having to be a human.

Extras: none