Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute believe they've built an AI smart enough to pass an avatar version of the Turing test -- convince a human that it is human while conversing in a virtual environment like Second Life. The bot is named "Rascals," which stands for Rensselaer Advanced Synthetic Architecture for Living Systems. Naturally, this first-ever achievement requires some world-class juice, and the team will using IBM's Blue Gene, the world's fastest supercomputer, to run the AI in real time. The AI's thoughts about itself and others is based on a grad student guinea pig, and it can even formulate thoughts about the beliefs of others and their beliefs about the beliefs of others. Trippy, no? Rascals will be put to the test in October 2008.

[Via Slashdot]