A computer program has become the first to pass a Turing test by fooling 33 per cent of humans that it was a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy.
A "super computer" has duped humans into thinking it was a 13-year-old boy to become the first machine to pass the "iconic" Turing Test, experts say.
Five machines were tested at the Royal Society in central London to see if they could fool people into thinking they were humans during text-based conversations.
The test was devised in 1950 by computer science pioneer and World War II code breaker Alan Turing, who said that if a machine was indistinguishable from a human, then it was "thinking".
No computer had ever previously passed the Turing Test, which requires 30 per cent of human interrogators to be duped during a series of five-minute keyboard conversations, organisers from the University of Reading said.
But "Eugene Goostman", a computer program developed to simulate a 13-year-old boy, managed to convince 33 per cent of the judges that it was human, the university said.
Professor Kevin Warwick, from the University of Reading, said: "In the field of artificial intelligence there is no more iconic and controversial milestone than the Turing Test.
"It is fitting that such an important landmark has been reached at the Royal Society in London, the home of British science and the scene of many great advances in human understanding over the centuries. This milestone will go down in history as one of the most exciting."
The successful machine was created by Russian-born Vladimir Veselov, who lives in the United States, and Ukrainian Eugene Demchenko who lives in Russia.
Veselov said: "It's a remarkable achievement for us and we hope it boosts interest in artificial intelligence and chatbots."
Professor Warwick said there had been previous claims that the test was passed in similar competitions around the world.
"A true Turing Test does not set the questions or topics prior to the conversations," he said.
"We are therefore proud to declare that Alan Turing's test was passed for the first time."
This particular test involved 150 conversations between 30 judges, 25 humans and five chatbots, making it the biggest Turing Test ever.
Actor Robert Llewellyn, known for his role as Kryten in Red Dwarf, was one of the judges for the Turing test, tweeting afterwards "Turing test was amazing. Did 10 sessions of 5 minutes, 2 screens, 1 human 1 machine. I guessed correctly 4 times. Clever little robot fellow".
Goostman, who successfully fooled 29 per cent of his judges in 2012, is portrayed as a 13 year-old boy from Ukraine. His father works as a gynaecologist, and he owns a pet guinea pig. His designer's chose the age specifically for its suitability to the Turing Test. "Thirteen years old is not too old to know everything and not too young to know nothing", Veselov says, adding that it also means minor grammatical errors in the typing will be forgiven.
Professor Warwick said having a computer with such artificial intelligence had "implications for society" and would serve as a "wake-up call to cybercrime".
The event on Saturday was poignant as it took place on the 60th anniversary of the death of Turing, who laid the foundations of modern computing.
You can see more background about Goostman and even put him to the test with your own questions here.