Posted by Brian Kennan

Ever since the computer was invented, people have wondered when such machines would be able to think. In 1950, mathematician Alan Turing suggested a simple test for computer intelligence: if a computer can fool a human being into thinking it is also human, said Turing, the machine should be considered intelligent.

Turing died in 1954 but must have rolled over in his grave last week when the Turing test's reputation hit a new low: security analysts discovered a "sex chat" computer program so lifelike it was fooling customers into disclosing their personal data.The program is called "CyberLover" and exploits a technique long known to security researchers as "social engineering," a fancy term for manipulating users into disclosing information. What's new with this con is that the one doing the social engineering is a computer program. And a hard working one.  According to Ina Fried, citing a report from PC Tools, CyberLover "can work quickly, too, establishing up to 10 relationships in 30 minutes.... It compiles a report on every person it meets complete with name, contact information, and photos."

Of course, the user must volunteer this information, which raises another intriguing question: Are users that are naive enough to give out personal information to a computer sex-chat program able to pass the Turing test themselves?