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The Loebner Prize

The Loebner Prize was set up in 1990 by Hugh Loebner. It is designed to stimulate interest and innovation in the field of chatbots and AI. In particular it is based on the classic challenge of the Turing Test. The hope is that one day a Loebner contestant will actually pass the Test.

What Is The Loebner Prize?

The Loebner prize is an annual competition for chatbots from around the world. These bots engage in discussion with a group of judges under conditions that closely resemble those proposed by Alan Turing in his original formulation of the Test. The judges then mark the different chatbots according to how close to human they consider their interactions to be.

The creator of the best chatbot each year is awarded a cash prize and a medal. The medal system has caused some confusion amongst the non-technical press since the year's winner normally receives a bronze medal. This should not be considered as "third place" since the bar for achieving silver or gold is high: the silver medal will be awarded once only to the first chatbot that convinces judges it is human in a text-only conversation. The gold medal will be awared once only to the first chatbot to convince the judges that it is human in the context of a wider Turing Test including audiovisual input. Should this ever occur the Loebner Prize will then be wound up.

The Loebner Prize has caused some controversy in recent years due to rules changes that debar some programs or make it more difficult for the gold medal to be won. However Hugh Loebner puts in the time and provides the financial backing for the prize so he is entitled to set his own rules.

The 2006 Bronze Medal winner was chatterbot "Joan" by Rollo Carpenter of Jabberwacky.

The 2007 contest is scheduled to take place in New York City in October.



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