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On the 60th anniversary of Turing’s death, Saturday 7 June 2014, a computer passed the Turing Test. The computer, or Eugene Goostman as he’s known, is designed to simulate a 13 year old boy, and managed to convince one third of the judges that he was human – exceeding the 30% threshold that the Test sets. So what’s it like to judge the Test? There’s a fascinating account of one of the judges here. However, once the excitement of the breakthrough passed, researchers were left with some awkward questions. Is cybercrime going to be far more of a problem than it already is? What does it mean for a robot to have the functioning capacity of a human – should they have their own distinct legal personality? Some legal professors have argued robots must have legal personalities, following the Hobby Lobby case about corporations. The original paper by Turing is online and essential reading for those interested in Computer Science and robotics. As the word ‘robot’ comes from the Czech word for serf labour, we all need to be thinking about the repercussions of this story – whether you’re interested in Law, PPE, Philosophy or the sciences. 

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