Original Chat: Exploring the Origins of the Turing Test

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Abstract (in English): 

The chatbot, or conversational agent, is a new media art object that has been around since Joseph Weizenbaum's ELIZA (1966), which is included in ELO's directory of e-lit. These programs have since been adapted for electronic narratives and interactive dramas. Instigating this area of research, Alan Turing's thought experiment/dare, the Turing Test (1950), claimed that computers would soon be able to perform conversational exchange convincingly as humans. While many use the Turing Test to contextualize a discussion about chatbots, few have examined the origins of the Turing Test itself. Crossing the history of technology in this vision of a chatbot legacy, I will outline one new theory of the origins of the Turing Test, suggesting a lineage from the military-industrial complex that helps us to re-examine our interaction with artificial agents in electronic literature from IF works such as Emily Short's "Galatea" to Andrew Stern and Michael Mateas' "Facade."

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Scott Rettberg