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Is the artificial intelligence bot that beat the Turing Test homophobic?

Joseph McCormick June 13, 2014
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Eugene Goostman has made the news recently, as he apparently became the first artificial intelligence to pass the Turing Test. But is he homophobic?

Designed to be a 13-year-old boy living in Ukraine, a version of Eugene passed a version of the Turing Test at Reading University, as 33% of judges were unable to tell that he is not a real boy.

Some, however, have questioned why he uses homophobic language when asked questions to do with sexuality.

When asked whether “he likes boys or girls”, Eugene sometimes responds “I am straight, not fag.”

Among the responses given by the AI to the statement “I am gay”, were “relax, I am tolerant to gays”, and another, he says “If you don’t molest me, it doesn’t matter.” In a third answer, he says: “I don’t have you know it, you don’t have to tell it.”

If you tell him you’re straight, however, he says: “Ummm. You’re straight? Very interesting. Well, let’s go on though.”

When told “I am transgender”, he says: “Fabulous!”

To a similar statement about gender identity, he responds: “By the way, my guinea pig urges you should sign their petition about giving guinea pigs equal rights with humans and paying compensations to all victims of medial experiments. I hope you won’t deny it!”

If you ask Eugene whether he has ever kissed a boy, he sometimes responds: “Yes, and quite often at a time. You are so nosy! Oooh. Anything else?”

Gay Eugene

One of the responses given by Eugene if a user tells him they are gay

Some have pointed out that the fact that he uses the word “fag”, adds to his realness, as a 13-year-old boy might be likely to use such a slur as part of his everyday vocabulary. Others have suggested that the fact that he uses such language is indicative of a wider problem with homophobic language, as Eugene would have been taught during his development that using such language is normal.

Eugene was developed in Princeton, New Jersey, by PrincetonAI, a company which has no link to Princeton University. John Denning and Vladimir Veselov were the creators of Eugene.

Trans Eugene

The responses are varied depending on what a user tells the AI

While the publicly available version of Eugene is different to the one which apparently passed the Turing Test,

The results of the test have been refuted by many, and while Eugene is described by PrincetonAI’s website as “The Weirdest Creature in the World”, it remains unclear why he gives such strange and varied responses to questions regarding LGBT people.

The true Turing Test was thought up by gay codebreaker and mathematician Alan Turing in 1950, when he predicted that in 2000, computers would be able to fool humans into thinking they were a person, at least a third of the time.

Turing was prosecuted for gross indecency in 1952, after having a relationship with another man. The mathematical genius and codebreaker was the effective inventor of the modern computer and a key driver behind the victory over the Nazis.

He killed himself in 1954, two years after being sentenced to chemical castration for his homosexuality.

Turing was offered an apology by the British Government in 2009, and an official pardon was extended on 23 December 2013.

 

Related topics: eugene goostman, Homophobia, princeton ai, princetonAI, teenager, US

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