Advisory Board

James Bach

The NewScientist article Human fails Turing Test said

New Scientist has often reported on researchers’ attempts to build machines that pass the Turing Test, a benchmark for a robot’s ability to think. But yesterday there was talk online of a human failing the test.
The webgreeter site offers customers an online support service, and the chance to talk to a “live operator”. Blogger James Bach was so unimpressed by the contrived and seemingly scripted responses to his typed questions that be became convinced he was talking to an unthinking chatbot rather than a human.
But, as the picture above reveals, he was wrong — the “live operators” are real enough and found themselves overloaded with curious questioners after Bach’s blog post featured on social news site reddit.
In fact, Bach’s experience is far from unique — it’s what gives the Turing Test its power. Strip human interaction to its bones by reducing it to a typed conversation through a computer and it becomes difficult to be sure of who — or what — you are talking to.

James Bach is Founder and Principal Consultant, Satisfice. His father is Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
Satisfice is a software testing consultancy and training center. They specialize in rapid testing, exploratory testing, and heuristic testing techniques for all kinds of technology. Among their projects has been hiring and training teams of exploratory testers, designing certification and metrics programs for testing, and forensic testing.
One of James’ projects was to develop the General Functionality and Stability Test Procedure for Microsoft, which is now part of the Designed for Windows program. He has served as an expert witness in litigation and consulted on seven court cases, including the famous Microsoft antitrust trial. He has taught at many major companies, including Motorola, Alcatel, Earthlink, LexusNexus, Citrix, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Prudential, Scottish Power, Los Alamos National Laboratories, Intuit, Adobe, Texas Instruments, and EMC.
James coauthored Lessons Learned in Software Testing and authored the upcoming Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar: How Self-Education and the Pursuit of Passion Can Lead to a Lifetime of Success which is about the subject of radical self-education.
His papers include The Immaturity of the CMM, Exploratory Testing Explained, The Challenge of “Good Enough” Software, Risk and Requirements-Based Testing, Pairwise Testing: A Best Practice That Isn’t, Boost Your Testing Super Powers, Exploratory Testing and the Planning Myth, How Do You Spell Testing?, Microdynamics of Process Evolution, and Reframing Requirements Analysis.
Watch his Google TechTalk Becoming a Software Testing Expert and watch James Bach, Software Testing Naturalist – STARWEST 2008 and Øredev 2008 – Keynote – The Renaissance Thinker, James Bach. Read his blog! Follow James on Twitter!