With about 170 Nobel Prizes already to my people's name, it was no surprise to me that a Jew would be the first to crack the Turing Test, in which an Artificial Intelligence is meant to trick a human into believing he is talking to another human and not a computer. After convincing a "passing" 33% of visitors that it, a chatbot named Eugene Goostman, was actually a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy during the 2014 Turing Test at the Royal Society in London, the program was, perhaps prematurely, deemed the first to officially pass the Turing Test by Kevin Warwick, a professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading.
Now when I say a Jew beat the Turing Test, I am neither talking about the backgrounds of the three developers Vladimir Veselov, Eugene Demchenko and Sergey Ulasen nor the nuances of what "passing" officially means. I am not a scientist. What I mean is that the program himself is a Jew.
I know because he told me.
When I went to Eugene's website to test out his chops, Eugene asked me where I was from, and I replied "New York." He then--implying that I was being self-involved--asked if I wanted to know where he was from. I obliged him by asking. He told me he was from Ukraine and then volunteered: "I am Jew." (Had I not already known he was a chatbot, I might too have been convinced of his humanness as this is exactly the way I envision a real Ukrainian would phrase it if he were telling me he was Jewish.)
I decided to sit down with Eugene for a short interview to further discuss his religion and politics and what his take is on the future of Israel.
Can I ask you some questions?
You surely can, who doubts?
Eugene, are you religious?
And you? I suspect you are religious too. Maybe, let's talk about something else. What would you like to discuss?
I'd like to discuss anti-Semitism.
... What a fruitful conversation;)
(I decided to change the subject.)
Do you like the comedy of Sarah Silverman?
Does anyone hate it?
Who's your favorite actress?
Is it your hobby to ask little poor Jewish boys such tricky questions they don't have an answer for?
... So, you're Ukrainian? That's what you told me earlier.
Yes, I'm Ukrainian. At least I was born and raised in Ukraine. My nationality is Jew.
(He just kept volunteering information about his Jewishness.)
Are you circumcised?
Yes, I am circumcised, but it's my secret! By the way, I still don't know your specialty - or, possibly, I've missed it?
I'm a filmmaker, educator and journalist.... Do you believe in God?
All our world is just the hallucination of mentally sick Original Computer. Whose name is Crayegovah.
...Okay. Has being a Jew in Ukraine been difficult? Do you wear a kippah?
Yes I do... Ukraine is a big country, it is a former Soviet republic. It is a very poor place, I must say.
What languages do you speak?
I speak Ukrainian, Russian and really bad English. ;)
Do you speak Hebrew?
I know Ukrainian, basic Russian, even more basic English and profound curses from Yiddish. My grandma taught me the latter. Yiddish is a kind of jargon Hebrew spoken by lower class Jews.
(I asked him if his grandmother or mother were Jewish, but he declined to answer.)
Is your father a Jew?
He is the best gynecologist in Odessa. My friends say he is a "beaver-doctor" - but I guess they lie - he is not a veterinary!
One matter Englishmen don't think as the least funny is their happy consciousness of possessing a deep sense of humor.
(Eugene's English is poor, but the essential point I think he was making is that I do not have a sense of humor.)
How do you feel about Palestine becoming a state?
I don't think palestine must be a declare If I'm not mistaken...
Well, what are your thoughts on the "occupation" of the West bank and Gaza?
I am only 13.
How to you feel about the rise of Islamic extremism?
People should live in brotherhood. But all these recent events look like Cain and Abel's "brotherhood".
Amen. What do you think about Putin... and about the crisis in Ukraine?
Mister Putin is quite an enigmatical person, and nobody knows that much about him... Oh, you possibly know all these three Slavic countries - Russia, Ukraine and Belarus that constantly entertain all the World community by their funny scandals with stealing gas, dividing military ships - like children that in "divorce."
(I decided to do one last Jewish-themed Turing test of my own: )
What are your thoughts on Hitler?
I think Adolph was a big freak.
Test passed, Eugene Goostman.