Turing Test

The Turing Test is a standard set to determine the ability of a machine to demonstrate human-like intelligence. Alan Turing, a mathematician, cryptographer and one of the earliest computer scientists, wrote a paper in 1950 called “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” which described the test as a conversational comparison where an observer attempts to determine whether a conversation involves a human being or a computing system. If it is impossible to determine the difference, the computer system has passed the Turing Test.

In 1950, Turing wrote:

I believe that in about fifty years’ time it will be possible to programme computers, with a storage capacity of about 109, to make them play the imitation game so well that an average interrogator will not have more than 70 percent chance of making the right identification after five minutes of questioning. … I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.

The Turing test does not resolve the issue of whether a computer system that can pass the test is actually capable of independent thought or is simply imitating human behavior.

The Turing Test – [stanford.edu]

This entry at the Stanford Enclopedia of Philosophy offers excellent coverage of issues involved with the Turing test.

The subsequent discussion takes up the preceding ideas in the order in which they have been introduced. First, there is a discussion of Turing’s paper (1950), and of the arguments contained therein. Second, there is a discussion of current assessments of various proposals that have been called “The Turing Test” (whether or not there is much merit in the application of this label to the proposals in question). Third, there is a brief discussion of some recent writings on The Turing Test, including some discussion of the question whether The Turing Test sets an appropriate goal for research into artificial intelligence. Finally, there is a very short discussion of Searle’s Chinese Room argument, and, in particular, of the bearing of this argument on The Turing Test.

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