Posts Tagged Italy

Fleshgod Apocalypse Drummer Passes Turing Test

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An artist’s hyperrealistic impression of Franc EZ Co-Pounder 1.0.7

BEIJING, China—The drummer of Fleshgod Apocalypse, Italy’s foremost symphonic tech-death squad, passed the Turing test yesterday, dispelling longtime rumors about its humanity.

Franc EZ Co-Pounder 1.0.7, affectionately known as “♩ Pounder” to its bandmates, accomplished the historic feat at an Internet café during a tour stop in China’s capital. An annual World of Warcraft (WoW) mega-raiding session, sources confirmed, was happening at the café then.

The test, named after British computer scientist Alan Turing, is a text-based question-and-answer game that investigates whether humans can detect if they are conversing with machines or fellow humans.

A machine passes this test if, 70% of the time, it appears human to its human conversation partner after five minutes of written communication between the two. The test does not gauge the machine’s ability to correctly answer questions — only how closely its answers resemble those that a human might produce.

And Co-Pounder 1.0.7 delivered.

From 7:58 to 8:03 a.m. Pacific time yesterday, the 32-year-old convinced 137 of 196 WoW gamers in the café that it is human, defeating some 109 other competing artificial intelligence (AI) systems at the scene, including Goldfarmbot01, Goldfarmbot02, Jinnongfu108, Caishenye88 and mathematics undergraduate Fu Xundong from the National University of Mongolia.

Co-Pounder 1.0.7’s stunning display of humanity unfolded over five minutes of simultaneous private-chatting with every present WoW gamer, China’s state television broadcaster CCTV reported.

Eyewitnesses said that it “whispered” lasagna recipes in traditional Chinese to every human player at the climax of a fourth-stage Legion Invasion when the raid boss unleashed a Flame Fissure. Reportedly, all human players were distracted by the unsolicited culinary wall-of-text, and perished in flames.

As a result, Co-Pounder 1.0.7 was barraged with a torrent of vitriol and, most importantly, questions from the angry players. (Questions are crucial to the Turing test.) It then replied in Morse code to elicit more questions, and continued the rest of every conversation by doing its best impression of Paganini in Sanskrit and accented Maltese.

When Chinese players who interacted with Co-Pounder 1.0.7 were debriefed after the test concluded, they expressed surprise at the identity of their in-game murderer.

“Provoking a response with Taiwan’s written language, and then replying in various foreign languages was very convincing, very human,” said Huo Bumie, a player who fell to the Flame Fissure.

“I did not suspect at all that the stranger who chatted with me is Fleshgod Apocalypse’s drummer. Laowai machines are really as smart as they come! I will ask my politician dad to smuggle in one for me.”

Although Co-Pounder 1.0.7’s achievement is one for the books, close friend and bassist Paolo Rossi—who presided over the test as judge—remarked that its source code “was not originally written with heavy-duty online chatting in mind.”

Tweaking its source code to enable heavy-duty online chatting only came after Co-Pounder 1.0.7—through Rossi’s Google Glass—read derogatory YouTube comments about its octopus-android parentage on uploads of “Thru Our Scars”.

Offended by how many people suspect its humanity based on scant information and wild speculation, Co-Pounder 1.0.7 indignantly insisted that Rossi modify its source code “right [there] and [then]” so that it could “prove these insolent 60-BPM-loving plebeians wrong once and for all.”

Once the deed was done, Co-Pounder 1.0.7 leveraged the café’s free Wi-Fi to hack into New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) servers and manipulate penny stocks. It made a killing of approximately $2.7 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported.

It then installed itself on Rossi’s assigned computer in the café, bought a hacked WoW account from 58.com (China’s Craigslist), logged into the popular online videogame, and the rest is history.

While AI enthusiasts, philosophers, computer scientists, robot rights activists, and Fleshgod Apocalypse fans celebrate Co-Pounder 1.0.7’s passing of the Turing test, however, at least one expert was nonchalant about the drummer’s triumph.

Dr. Michael “Mick” Kenney, a leading UK authority in robotic gastroenterology and experimental paraphilosophy, noted that Co-Pounder 1.0.7’s passing of the Turing test does not mean much in the face of Turing’s original philosophical question: “Can machines think?”

“That question, which Alan Turing pondered and quickly circumvented in his landmark paper, ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’, is the crux of the creating-true-AI puzzle,” Dr. Kenney told BBC News. “Passing the Turing test does not directly answer it at all. Rather than reveal the ghost in the machine, Co-Pounder 1.0.7’s accomplishment simply revealed some people’s failure to recognize an incredibly well-programmed imitator of humans for what it is.”

He warned that satisfactorily answering Turing’s original question “necessarily involves pinning down what ‘think’ means, which opens a can of worms.”

“Let’s say thinking involves self-awareness,” Dr. Kenney continued, “then before I wonder if Co-Pounder 1.0.7 is aware of itself as a drumming thing, I better wonder if people around me are aware of themselves as thinking things.

“I have never been inside anyone’s mind but my own, after all, so who’s to say that my fellow humans are not biological automata?”

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Metallica Names Former Ethiopian Emperor Halie Selassie As New Bass Player

Ending weeks of speculation, Metallica has chosen former Ethiopian Emperor Halie Selassie as their new bass player.  The search began back in 2011 when bassist extraordinaire Robert Trujillo left the band after being named US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan.  The band had auditioned over 30,000 potential bass players before finally settling yesterday on Selassie.  Selassie, who died in 1975, was known for shepherding his nation through a war with Italy and years of internal strife as well as being a member of Ethiopia’s top Metallica cover band “Purify”.

Selassie remains a controversial figure in the metal community since he ordered Metallica to stop using chemical weapons against Megadeth back in 2009.  He has always been wildly popular among large sections of the Rastafarian metal community, but is universally despised by most Italian Fascist metalheads.  Selassie is perhaps best known for his speech in 1936 in front of the League of Nations where he argued that Iron Maiden, not Manowar, should be considered the rightful Kings of Metal.

Selassie will begin his tenure in Metallica next month when the band gets to work on recording its next album “Exile in Ponyland”.  The new record, due to come out sometime in late 2013, is a concept album that is based on both the popular My Little Pony toy series and Dante’s Inferno.  The album’s story will focus on the travels of Starlight and Bright Eyes Pony as they journey through the darkest regions of hell.  On their journey, they meet and befriend several lovable, unforgettable characters that are suffering eternal damnation.

Unlike some previous Metallica bassists, Selassie will be a major part of the songwriting process.  He has an impeccable reputation throughout the music industry as a top-flight songwriter and has even scored Top 40 hits in the 1970s with the song  “Devil Went Down To Georgia”, performed by The Charlie Daniels Band, and in the 1990s with the song “Crossroads”, recorded by Bone Thugs’n’Harmony.

Many different bass players applied for the job, including several well-known names.  Veteran actor Burt Reynolds was initially considered a shoe-in for the job, but fell out of contention last month when he and guitarist Dom DeLuise joined Corrosion of Conformity.  Former Pittsburgh Steeler coach Bill Cowher, 19th century philosopher John Stuart Mill and Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman were all leading candidates for the position, but Selassie was able to win out due to his leadership and vision for the future of the band.

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