On November 6 we collaborated with the Antenna gallery of London’s Science Museum. It was part of a series of events that examine the legacy of mathematician and computing pioneer, Alan Turing. Alan Turing is perhaps most famous for the Turing Test. At the time it was conceived, it was a theoretical test of artificial intelligence. The test asked a human operator to make a judgment regarding who was a human and machine respondent behind a physical barrier. The test was based on a Victorian parlour game that Turing was fond of called the imitation game, where players had to guess whether they were corresponding with a man or woman in another room. The People Speak are known for seeing things through a game show lens and Rohan from the Science Museum suggested that this bore a resemblance with the ’80s game show Blind Date.
So we created Blind Update, which is the next step on from the Turing test- what became known during the show as the Cilla test. If you are not able to discriminate between a computer and a human to the extent you want to go on date with your correspondent- now that’s a sexy computer! Unfortunately, Artificial intelligence isn’t quite there yet, with the most sophisticated chat bots still standing awkwardly on their own next to the pot plant. Our experiment went a little awry, but it did provoke a lively discussion about the future of artificial intelligence. Would machines ever take over the world, the dancefloor or the bedroom? Would we want to stay in contact with an uploaded version of a lost loved one? Will machines ever get humour?
However, much to the disappointment of certain human beings, Mevan, one of our contestants chose SAM, the Sardonic Aphorism Machine, despite his obvious incompleteness. We documented the romantic, but ultimately unsuccessful date, some pictures below.