Main content

It's claimed that some computers can now pass the Turing test: convincing people that they are human. Tim Harford asks how important that distinction is, and what it means for the future of human interaction.

Available now

10 minutes

Last on

Mon 2 Sep 2019 03:50GMT


Robert Epstein "From Russia, with Love. How I got fooled (and somewhat humiliated) by a computer" Scientific American Mind 17

A. M. Turing "Computing Machinery and Intelligence"  Mind 1950

Elizabeth Lopatto "The AI That Wasn't" The Daily Beast 10 June 2014

Brian Christian "The Samantha Test" The New Yorker 30 December 2013

Kenneth M Colby, James B Watt and John P Gilbert "A Computer Method for Psychotherapy: Preliminary Communication" Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases 142 No 2 (1966)

Erin Brodwin "I spent 2 weeks texting a bot about my anxiety" Business Insider 30 Jan 2018

Dillon Browne, Meredith Arthur and Miriam Slozberg "Do Mental Health Chatbots Work?" Healthline

Chris Baraniuk "How Talking Machines are Taking Call Centre Jobs" BBC News 24 August 2018

Alastair Sharp, Allison Martell "Infidelity website Ashley Madison facing FTC probe, CEO Apologizes" Reuters 5 July 2016

Brian Christian The Most Human Human New York: Doubleday 2011

John Markoff "Automated Pro-Trump Bots Overwhelmed Pro-Clinton Messages, Researchers Say" New York Times 17 November 2016

Adam Smth The Wealth of Nations 1776

David Autor "Why Are There So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation" Journal of Economic Perspectives - Volume 29, Number 3 - Summer 2015

Deters, F.G & Mehl, M. R. (2012) Does Posting Facebook Status Updates Increase or Decrease Loneliness? An Online Social Networking Experiment. Social psychological and personality science, 4(5), 10.1177/1948550612469233. 


  • Sat 31 Aug 2019 04:50GMT
  • Sat 31 Aug 2019 13:50GMT
  • Sun 1 Sep 2019 14:50GMT
  • Sun 1 Sep 2019 21:50GMT
  • Sun 1 Sep 2019 22:50GMT
  • Mon 2 Sep 2019 03:50GMT