I failed the Turing Test

April 18, 2009

I am at fourteen thousand feet and trying to read “The Emperor’s New Mind” by Roger Penrose. (Its cloudy at UKIRT). Perhaps it would have been wiser to try it at sea level at a more normal neural firing rate.

So early on there is all this stuff about the Turing Test. Apparently Turing’s original paper said that computers would pass 30% of Turing tests by the year 2000. Now I love my Macbook but it ain’t that good. So chalk that up with personal jet packs on the list of futurology failures.

You know the idea of course. A computer and a real person are hidden away in different rooms and a second real person asks both of them questions, by plain text only. If the interrogator can’t tell which one is the real person, then the computer has passed the Turing Test.

So it occurred to me that the weakness in this is that it depends on the hidden human. I definitely have some cousins who would fail the Turing Test. Or let a dumb computer slip through too easily. Anyhoo, mustn’t be arrogant. At fourteen thousand feet I think I will fail too.