Wired.com has a post summarizing an article in Science which suggests recent advances in information technology could have us on the brink of strong AI capable of passing a Turing test. This means that if you had a conversation with the computer program you would not be able to distinguish whether you were talking to a program or real person. Kurzweil has predicted the first AI capable of passing the Turing test sometime in the latter part of the next decade.
“Two revolutionary advances in information technology may bring the Turing test out of retirement,” wrote Robert French, a cognitive scientist at the French National Center for Scientific Research, in an Apr. 12 Science essay. “The first is the ready availability of vast amounts of raw data — from video feeds to complete sound environments, and from casual conversations to technical documents on every conceivable subject. The second is the advent of sophisticated techniques for collecting, organizing, and processing this rich collection of data.”