Thursday, October 16, 2008

Turing Test

Recently, a computer almost passed the Turing Test. It managed to talk to people via text chat, and convince almost 30% of the examiners that it was a human.

Personally, I think the Turing Test is hogwash, for two reasons:

1) It is not a test of artificial intelligence, it is a test of computer programmers' ability to write a program that succeeds at a narrowly defined task.

2) If you took a random sample of people and told them to play with Ouija boards, I would not be surprised if 30% of them thought they were communicating with a sentient entity.

I will not be impressed until a computer manages to successfully administer a Turing Test. Sentience is, among other things*,the ability to make judgments about the sentience of other entities.**

*Sentience is also the ability to be comfortable with self-referential paradoxes.

**Yes, I am aware this statement, when combined with Reason 2, implies that people who use Ouija boards seriously are not sentient.

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