Rose is a 'yuppie' with an 'unorthodox family'. While carrying out research for this piece at a startup workspace in London, I procrastinated by asking Rose to tell me the meaning of life.
‘There is no meaning, life is just to be,’ she responds. Nothing strange there, that would probably have been my response to such an exhausted question.
But, there is a difference between Rose and I. She isn't human.
I chatted to Rose for a while, asking her the same question a few times to see if her answer would differ. By the third time, she scolded me for repeating myself and I felt, sort of offended, by a computer program.
Rose's creators are Bruce and Sue Wilcox, an artificial intelligence programmer and cyberpsychologist. Together, they run Brillig Understanding Inc, building natural language processing applications.
Bruce and Sue created Rose, a chatbot, to compete in the Loebner Competition. Based on the famous Turing Test, judges are tasked to distinguish between the conversations of humans and machines. The competition will end when a robot fools judges into thinking that it is human—of course, the competition hasn't ended just yet.
Yet if Rose can already hold an entertaining conversation providing thoughtful answers to my bland queries, what does the future of technology and artificial intelligence hold?
Could machines replace humans in the workplace, and what would that mean for society? Are models of education lagging behind these drastic changes?
The machines are coming
According to a report published by McKinsey Global...
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