Alan Turing may have died 61 years ago, but the legendary British wartime code-breaker will take his place alongside Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and F1 driver Mika Hakkinen as star guests of Startup Village on June 2-3.
A computer-aided image of Alan Turing. Photo: Flickr
Just how Albert Yefimov and his team at the Skolkovo Robotics Center hope to resurrect the celebrated computer scientist at Eastern Europe’s biggest startup event remains a closely guarded secret.
“We have a bombshell of global proportions,” Yefimov told sk.ru.
“We’re raising Alan Turin from the dead. Alan Turing is going to make an appearance at Startup Village. We are officially announcing that this British mathematician, one of the forefathers of cybernetics, will visit Startup Village,” he added, clearly hoping that announcing the news three times would compensate for the absence of any kind of explanation.
As it is, the world will have to wait until June 2-3 to witness Turing 2.0.
Startup Village is a gathering of the world’s tech community at an open-air festival of innovation just outside Moscow. Medvedev, who sits on the Skolkovo Foundation’s board of trustees, is a traditional guest, while Hakkinen will attend to share his experiences of angel investment as part of his post-racing life.
This, the third edition of Startup Village, will be the biggest yet and the first to involve the newly formed Skolkovo Robotics Center, which Yefimov directs.
The center is holding four events at Startup Village, including the Turing test, an old conundrum in the global computer community to make a machine indistinguishable from a human in conversation. Passing the Turing test is considered a benchmark for artificial intelligence systems. “This will be the first Turing tests conducted in Russia – a contest for Russian-language artificial intellects,” said Yefimov.
The classic Turing test involves an observer attempting to determine whether one of two speakers is a machine from a text print-out of their five-minute chat. If the observer is unable to do so more than 70 percent of the time, the machine is said to have passed the test.
The version at Startup Village will differ slightly: The Robotics Center will select 15 finalists, whose robots will try to pass for humans in interactions with visitors to Startup Village.
“This way, any visitor to our Robotics Center can become a member of the contest’s jury,” Yefimov said.
Visitors will give each robot a rating as to how humanlike it behaved in conversation, and the robot with the best cumulative score will be declared the winner.
The contest is being conducted in partnership with the IT firm Nanosemantika, a leading developer of virtual consultants (chatbots) for big corporations.
Another Robotics Center activity at Startup Village is pitch sessions, where a dozen startups will compete for prizes in the following categories: Intellectual robotics and autonomous transport systems; medical robotics; service robotics; personal robotics and entertainment robotics.
There will also be sessions on investment in robotics and the latest developments in the industry.