So begins the rise of the machines…
You may have never heard of Eugene Goostman, but his is a name that will go down in history. Eugene is a 13 year old from Odessa (Ukraine, not Washington), that just passed the Turing Test. Rather, a group of Russian programmers that created the program that presents itself as Eugene passed the Turing Test.
The scifi bent on this is that it is the next small step on the way to a real A.I., which may or may not bring about the destruction of all mankind. In actuality, it is less about creating A.I. than it is about clever programming slight of hand that enables the program to fool a group of testers. The fact that Eugene is 13 and not a native English speaker certainly worked in his favor.
Eugene managed to fool a third of the testers, just eclipsing the 30% required for passing. If you are curious to know what those chats might have looked like, TIME conducted an interview with Eugene. I am guessing that round would have fallen in the 67%. It is still an important milestone being passed. Each huge moment in technology is approached with tiny steps, like this.