BOOK REVIEW: The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive by Brian Christian | Science News

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BOOK REVIEW: The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive by Brian Christian

Review by Laura Sanders

By
12:06pm, November 4, 2011

As anyone struggling to navigate a tangled web of automated customer service knows, most computers have a long way to go before they can impersonate a human. In this engaging and thought-provoking book, Christian describes his efforts to keep machines in their place.

The chapters follow Christian’s preparations for a competition in which artificial intelligence programs try to pass as human — a form of a test proposed by Alan Turing in 1950. Turing said that a machine could be considered to “think” when it could convince human judges they’re talking with another person. Each year computers get a little closer when they compete against humans in the Loebner Prize’s “Most Human Computer” contest.

But an equally important prize is at stake, Christian says. The humans competing against the computers also vie for the “Most Human

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