Al-Rifaie on BBC

AISB Committee member and Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London, Dr Mohammad Majid al-Rifaie was interviewed by the BBC (in Farsi) along with his colleague Mohammad Ali Javaheri Javid on the 6 November 2014. He was a...


Read More...

Rose wins the Loebne...

After 2 hours of judging at Bletchley Park, 'Rose' by Bruce Wilcox was declared the winner of the Loebner Prize 2014, held in conjunction with the AISB.  The event was well attended, film live by Sky News and the special guest jud...


Read More...

AISB Convention 2015

The AISB Convention is an annual conference covering the range of AI and Cognitive Science, organised by the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour. The 2015 Convention will be held at the Uni...


Read More...

Yasemin Erden on BBC

AISB Committee member, and Philosophy Programme Director and Lecturer, Dr Yasemin J. Erden interviewed for the BBC on 29 October 2013. Speaking on the Today programme for BBC Radio 4, as well as the Business Report for BBC world N...


Read More...

Mark Bishop on BBC ...

Mark Bishop, Chair of the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour, appeared on Newsnight to discuss the ethics of ‘killer robots’. He was approached to give his view on a report raising questions on the et...


Read More...

AISB YouTube Channel

The AISB has launched a YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/AISBTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/AISBTube). The channel currently holds a number of videos from the AISB 2010 Convention. Videos include the AISB round t...


Read More...
012345

Notice

Yasemin Erden on BBC

AISB Committee member, and Philosophy Programme Director and Lecturer, Dr Yasemin J. Erden interviewed for the BBC on 29 October 2013. Speaking on the Today programme for BBC Radio 4, as well as the Business Report for BBC world News, Dr Erden discussed CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart) technologies, by which websites can differentiate between humans and spambots. They do this by both generating and then assessing simple tests. These are designed to be relatively easy for humans to pass, while difficult for many computer programs. Typically this relies on the use of distorted text and unusual fonts and layouts.

Renewed interest in this technology by the media has arisen because a new software company called Vicarious had in recent days claimed that their algorithms could now "reliably solve modern CAPTCHAs, including Google’s reCAPTCHA", with surprisingly high success rates of "up to 90% on modern CAPTCHAs from Google, Yahoo, PayPal, Captcha.com, and others" [1].

Yasemin explained to the BBC correspondents that even if these levels of success had been achieved (and it is difficult to asses this because the company have so far refused to disclose full details of the algorithm and information pertaining to these results), this does not mean that there are not alternative methods for CAPTCHA tests available. These including pattern recognition ("put the food products into the shopping basket"; trivia (e.g. "what colour is grass?") or very simple mathematical puzzles (e.g. 1+3 = ?).

In addition to this, some far stronger claims were made as a result of these apparent developments by Vicarious, including that they had created technology that could pass the Turing test, or that would lead to greater Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities. To this Yasemin responded that first of all, the CAPTCHA technologies are rightly considered 'reverse' Turing tests [2], since the original test was supposed to assess whether a machine could fool a human that it was also human (or in fact, that it was female), whereas the goal of CAPTCHA technologies is to allow a computer to distinguish between humans and machines. It is in fact far easier to fool a machine in these respects, then it is to fool a human. Secondly, there has been no evidence given as to the way in which successes such as these (if indeed there has been success--see comment above) would lead to any claims for better AI systems broadly speaking. Until we see further evidence for this (including peer-revewied research) then there is as yet little reason to accept such claims.

 

[1] http://news.vicarious.com/post/65316134613/vicarious-ai-passes-first-turing-test-captcha

[2] Elie Bursztein, Matthieu Martin, and John C. Mitchell, 'Text-based CAPTCHA Strengths and Weaknesses'. ACM Conference 2011. Online: http://cdn.ly.tl/publications/text-based-captcha-strengths-and-weaknesses.pdf