The act of impersonating a program or machine for the purposes of deceiving another party. This technique exploits people's blind trust in technology and is a test only because it challenges the intelligence of the supposed second party.

For example, in bad sitcoms people often attempt to impersonate a answering machine to avoid a telephone conversation with someone they dislike, often with 'hilarious consequences'. I've never seen this work in real life but it could, hypothetically.

This is also a technique used by some crackera to socially engineer dumb users.

There is also a variant of this called the Blurring Test in which a human attempts to prove his or her humanity to a computer. Obviously, it's an artwork rather than an actual investigation, but often creates some very interesting (and sometimes really, really funny) interactions. The premiere example of this is a PBS Weblab exhibit named MR MIND, an interactive website where the user tries to convince MR MIND that they are human. It's a fun exploration into the nature of humanity, and despite being done in a 'tech' setting, it's mostly done inside the visitor's head. The effectiveness of the site is a tribute to the designer (Peggy Weil) as the technical side, the actual conversation bot, is severely limited by the supporting and available technology. Rather, it's the setup of the activity, as well as the phraseology and language chosen for the bot, that make the site interesting and fun.

http://www.mrmind.com

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