In this era, when technology continues to get advanced and better, it may pleasantly surprise many to note that machines are getting closer to humans. They are performing duties that no one hitherto would be possible. In other words, machines and gadgets are being invented that can imitate human functioning, for example, in the human brain, eyes, and so forth.
But perhaps one of the latest inventions, a clear manifestation of humans getting even closer to humans, is the machine that has been made and can imitate the human voice. The device was invented as part of completion for the Artificial Conversational Entities, known as the ACE. Several machines that could mimic the human voice were entered for the competition, and the winner was really awesome. During the competition, judges selected some of the five best machines and competed for five minutes to get the best. This comprised a five minute kind of interrogation, where there were unrestricted conversations with the machines, which tried to pass off as human beings. So real did these machines sound that one would not tell whether one was a machine or a human being.
However, the competition organized borrowed from the original one performed by Alan Turin in the year 1950. Alan came up with his seminal paper, where he observed that if during the test for the conversation by the machine, a machine is found to be very similar to the human voice, then the device could be said to be thinking and, as such, possess intelligence. But in this recent competition, any machine that could fool over 30% of the human interrogators was deemed to have passed the test. It is also worth noting that any of the interrogators identified by the interrogators as having passed did have a conversational ability score of around 80 – 90%.
This competition attracted many entries because it was indeed a thorough competition, where only the best were considered. The winner of the competition, dubbed as the Loebner Prize, pocketed an excellent US$ 3000 in cash. It was observed that if a machine could score an average of 80 or 90% in sounding like the human voice, then this was an indication of more incredible things to come. This is a milestone in communication and means that shortly, we could have machines that communicate with us in a language we understand, without sounding like they’re really machines. Such technology is expected to be incorporated into the making of robots. In other words, robots could follow orders given to them and be able to talk and respond to human communications.
Researchers are now working on software that will help them design a perfect and functional robotic hand. This is being done by using artificial intelligence coupled with advanced software, which means that the robotic hand will have the ability to learn new things and perfect them.