Sixty years to the day of his death, a computer at the University of Reading passed Alan Turing's test Saturday, successfully convincing judges that they were communicating with a human. UPDATE 6/10: As io9 and others have pointed out, it was not a computer (or a supercomputer) but a chat bot — a program designed to mimic human conversation—that "passed" the Turing Test.
Walking is the only pleasant form of traveling by land. You need no special equipment, training, money, e-tickets, antidepressants, or Twitter followers. Whatever clothes you're wearing will do fine; a hat and shoes are optional. When I've got a few days to spend somewhere, I spend them walking around. So I spent a few days walking around Silicon Valley.
Yesterday's transit meltdown at Grand Central was caused by "human error," the MTA reported, after someone at Metro-North decided evening rush hour would be a good time to disconnect half the power supply to the railway's main control computers, for maintenance. A loose wire then disabled the other half.
The man who introduced the CIA's Chief Technology Officer, Ira "Gus" Hunt, at yesterday's GigaOM Structure:Data conference in New York City thought it would be funny to quip, "If you don't give a big round of applause for our next speaker, he's gonna find out and it's gonna go on your permanent record." It was supposed to be a little joke, but then Hunt took the stage for his speech on "Big Data," told everyone that the CIA is now attempting to "collect everything and hang on to it forever," and suddenly it wasn't so funny anymore.
The FBI has released, and posted on its web site, Steve Jobs' 191-page FBI file. Read it here. The file consists of a 1991 background investigation conducted when Jobs was being considered for an appointment to the President's Export Council in the Bush I White House, and records of a 1985 bomb threat against him.
Ancient Australian fertility god Rupert Murdoch has joined Twitter, and so far he is really bad at it. Not that it has stopped the news media from exhaustively covering his Twitter exploits—which so far include scrubbing a Tweet off of his timeline after it apparently offended people—and for getting completely hoaxed by a fake Wendi Deng account.
Our favorite Internet place for watching the stars of tomorrow and the stars of yesterday is reportedly preparing to launch at least a dozen new channels in 2012. Unlike Vevo and other existing "channels" that offer whatever unscheduled clips, these new channels will be just like TV channels, with scheduled programs and, one hopes, seemingly endless commercial breaks. Apparently Google, which owns YouTube, wants to pull folks away from their televisions and toward their computer screens? As long as people are staring at some kind of screen, everything will be okay.
A computer at the University of Texas at Austin recently claimed responsibility for a terrorist bombing. It had not, in fact, bombed anyone, which is reassuring; less reassuring is the fact that the computer made those claims because it is schizophrenic. Indeed: researchers at the fine institution had induced something resembling schizophrenia in DISCERN, a "neural network... [that] can learn natural languages" and remember and repeat "simple stories," by increasing its rate of learning "so that it did not forget at normal rates." And, lo: