Posts Tagged ‘Turing’

Imitation Games

In a five-year-old paper, Tyler Cowen and Michelle Dawson ask: What does the Turing Test really mean? They point out that Alan Turing, as a homosexual retrospectively diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, would have been thoroughly versed in the difficulties of ‘passing’ imitation games, long before the composition of his landmark 1950 essay on Computing Machinery and Intelligence. They argue: “Turing himself could not pass a test of imitation, namely the test of imitating people he met in mainstream British society, and for most of his life he was acutely aware that he was failing imitation tests in a variety of ways.”

The first section of Turing’s essay, entitled The Imitation Game, begins with the statement of purpose: “I propose to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?'” It opens, in other words, with a move in an imitation game — with the personal pronoun, which lays claim to having passed as human preliminarily, and with the positioning of ‘machines’ as an alien puzzle. It is a question asked from the assumed perspective of the human about the non-human. As a Turing Test tactic, this sentence would be hard to improve upon.

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April 16, 2014admin 19 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations , Technology
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