01/10/2012 11:52 BST | Updated 01/12/2012 10:12 GMT

BotPrize 2012: Programmers 'Beat Turing Test' By Making Video Game Bots Seem 'More Human Than Human'

Programmers have developed computer-controlled gamers which are more 'realistic' than humans.

The study was an offshoot of the long-mooted 'Turing Test', in which a computer theoretically becomes indistinguishable from a human if it can fool a third party into believing it is one.

The 2K BotPrize is an annual competition (founded 2008) in which international teams attempt to create computer players ('bots') inside the game Unreal Tournament 2004 which are indistinguishable from human players.

Developing a human-like bot involves allowing it to make mistakes, shoot inaccurately and behave with the same mix of hesitation and aggression as a real human player.

Until now no team has managed to fool a panel of judges into believing their player was the most human-like.

But this year the barrier was broken, and two teams managed to make the leap. In fact while the human players had a 'human-ness rating' of 40%, the bots beat them - with 52%.

The bots that were 'more human than human' were the UT^2 bot, from the University of Texas, and MirrorBot, by Romanian computer scientist Mihai Polceanu.

Both split the $7,000 prize.

"It's especially satisfying that the prize has been won in the 2012 Alan Turing Centenary Year," the BotPrize team wrote on their website.

"Where to now for human-like bots? Next year we hope to propose a new and exciting challenge for bot creators to push their technologies to the next level of human-like performance."

Fancy testing your skills? The UT^2 bot is available to play online.