Talking to technology with the Turing Test

University news

Tuesday 13 September 2016

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Press Team

Can you tell the difference between talking to a human and talking to a machine? – That’s the question posed by a new book produced by two Coventry University scholars.

Turing’s Imitation Game, Conversations with the Unknown, looks at Alan Turing’s Imitation Game, or Turing Test, which gave birth to the field of artificial intelligence.

Written by Dr Huma Shah and Professor Kevin Warwick, the book offers up-to-date insight into the Turing Test and whether it is possible for a machine to have humanlike conversation.

The book will take to the shelves this month, two years after 33 per cent of judges failed to identify Eugene Goostman as the machine in a Turing test experiment at The Royal Society London in 2014.

Along with introducing the history of the Turing Test and the basics of artificial intelligence, the book also includes transcripts from conversations between people and computer programmes – offering the chance for readers to try and tell which is human and which is machine.

Turing’s Imitation Game is published by Cambridge University Press and is suitable for undergraduates studying artificial intelligence, engineering or computer science.

The book is available to pre-order online at in hardback.

Dr Huma Shah said:

The book charts the story behind Turing’s ideas on his imitation game and examines implemented Turing tests designed for my PhD, and follow up experiments investigating machine-human indistinguishability through natural conversation. This is significant in the digital era because of the increasing number of voice-activated programmes like Apple’s SIRI.”

Professor Kevin Warwick said:

The Turing test is an important landmark in the field of artificial intelligence. The book contains lots of examples of practical tests showing how machines can be humorous, can lie and can often fool interrogators into thinking that they are human. If you think that you can tell the difference between a human and a machine in conversation then this is the chance to see if you are correct. But will the machine fool you?”

For media enquiries, please contact Kelly Baker-Adams, press officer, Coventry University on 024 7765 9752 or