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Monday, February 19, 2001

Scientific breakthrough: Ai’s ‘baby’ computer program learns to converse like a 15 month-old human baby.
Boston, Mass. -- February 19, 2001 – Ai’s researchers developed a computer program designed to learn how to carry a conversation and succeeded in training it to converse on a level of a 15-month old baby.

This is just one of a series of milestones, based on human development that Hal, Ai’s conversational agent, is expected to pass before it achieves the conversational capabilities of an adult speaker. The algorithm is built using general learning principles by Ai’s algorithm department and is then trained by a team of cognitive scientists and child development experts to acquire language. The first milestone was achieved following combined efforts by both departments within Ai’s Research Division. Hal’s conversations were presented to external language experts who could not distinguish between the lingual performance of the algorithm and that of a 15 month old baby, thus passing an “Infant Turing Test” for machine intelligence.

“This is an extremely exciting development, bearing in mind that Hal was not programmed with any pre-conception or assumption about language or the world around it. Its performance is strictly the result of the application of general learning principles to behaviorist training methodologies” said Dr. Anat Treister-Goren, Ai’s Chief Trainer.

Ai’s Research Division is now working on the next challenge – attaining the linguistic performance of an 18-month-old toddler. According to linguists and Ai’s experts, attaining this level would be a significant breakthrough in computer intelligence, and will serve as further proof that Ai’s unique approach to computer language acquisition will eventually achieve adult level results.

About Ai

Artificial Intelligence NV (Ai) is the world’s leading AI research project, focusing on creating genuine Artificial Intelligence – the technology that enables machines to converse with humans in natural language. Based on a groundbreaking approach, Ai’s technology will pass the Turing Test for machine intelligence within a period of 10 years. Ai is an international company with offices in Boston, Massachusetts and a research center in Tel Aviv, Israel.

For more information, please contact:
Heather Carnevale
GCI Group (New York)