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Why the Turing Test Revised is Still the Turing Test


von Ruden, Galilea B. (2021) Why the Turing Test Revised is Still the Turing Test. Other, California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/9KP0-TQ82.


Can machines think? So Alan Turing begins his paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence", discussing how one might assess whether an electronic computer can truly "think" (Turing, 1950, p. 29). It is here that Turing explains his famous Turing Test: can a computer win in an "imitation game" with a human? That is, can an electronic computer provide written answers to an interrogator which would fool the interrogator into believing that device is human? To answer yes, Turing argues, is to acknowledge the reality of a thinking machine (Turing, 1950, p. 30). Since 1950, technology has advanced impressively. There has been a computer that “passed” the Turing Test, fooling testers with a clever ability to redirect conversation when questions became too challenging (Marcus, 2014). Yet this strategy feels more like a cheap trick than the mark of an authentic thinker, casting doubt on the test’s validity. What could be a more reliable test for machine understanding? I argue for two simple additions to the Turing Test that would eliminate loopholes but leave the spirit of the test unchanged. That Turing's original imagination of the Turing Test involved a game of deception is distracting to its fundamental principle: we will say a machine “thinks” when its logical outputs are in no way noticeably inferior to that of a human.

Item Type:Thesis (Other)
Subject Keywords:Alexander P. and Adelaide F. Hixon Prize for Writing in Freshman Humanities
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Humanities and Social Sciences
Major Option:Humanities
Awards:Alexander P. and Adelaide F. Hixon Prize for Writing in Freshman Humanities, 2018
Thesis Availability:Restricted to Caltech community only
Research Advisor(s):
  • Unknown, Unknown
Group:Alexander P. and Adelaide F. Hixon Prize for Writing in Freshman Humanities, Hixon Writing Center
Thesis Committee:
  • None, None
Defense Date:2018
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:02052019-142127450
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:11384
Deposited By: Leslie Rico
Deposited On:20 Feb 2019 23:53
Last Modified:26 Apr 2019 18:32

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