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Who Said It: Trump or a Bot?

This is harder than it sounds.
Image: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

The last thing anybody would compare Donald Trump to is a robot.

Unhinged outbursts and bizarre non sequiturs have become a hallmark since he began his bid to become the Republican nominee for president last year, despite the alluringly consistent internal logic of his xenophobia and hatred. It's all so very terrifyingly, tragically human.

But in an interview with the New York Times' David Sanger and Maggie Haberman at this week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland, something weird happened. In a short exchange about how the nominee would counter the hacking attempts of foreign governments, Trump came off as more incomprehensible than usual—regurgitating keywords back at the reporters in generic, meaningless sentences.


Reading through the transcript, we realized his speech pattern was familiar. Trump sounded like a chat bot.

You've probably used one of these bits of code before—perhaps you remember SmarterChild—so you know the deal: you type questions or, let's be honest, insults into a text box, and they attempt to mimic human speech patterns and answer you. They're usually pretty crappy.

And so, dear reader, we present to you an augmented version of the Turing test, a hypothetical test designed by computer scientist Alan Turing in the 1950s to find out if a conversation partner is a human or a computer.

We fed the questions posed by the reporters through five chat bots and recorded the responses. Read the exchanges below and see if you can tell which are robots, and which is Trump. Answers are at the bottom.

Because even though this is all getting less and less funny by the day, it's still kind of hilarious.







Okay, now scroll down for the answers…

It was 4. Donald Trump is 4. The rest are bots. 1 was Elbot. 2 was Mitsuku. 3 was Cleverbot. 5 was Donald Drumpf Bot. 6 was A.L.I.C.E.