Artificial intelligence: from Turing’s imitation game to Facebook

In August 2017 many papers and newspapers reported that two bots, Alice and Bob, simulated a conversation in a language which could not be understood by the experimenters of the Facebook laboratory where the fact took place. The news couldn’t present the complete frame in which this event should be placed. This might cause misunderstandings both in terms of excessive fears or enthusiasm. This article will try to define the frame in which to read similar attempts to emulate human intelligence from machine side. To accomplish this, we will go through the history of the very first computer programs by Ada Lovelace, we will see the fundamental contribute of Turing’s imitation games and we will analyze the results obtained in the field of machine learning in the latest years. Facebook’s experiment places itself in this path highlighting some of the questions which come together with artificial intelligence from its very beginning: can the emulation of human intelligence count as actually thinking? The answer is still open.

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