'Intelligent' computers put to the [Turing] test
Comedian/Game Show Host Jeff Foxworthy wants to know if you're smarter than a 5th grader, but are you smarter than a computer? October 12, humans and 6 AI will face off to see if the programs can fool human judges into not being able to tell them apart from human beings. Ray Kurzweil has predicted the so-called "Turing Test" will not be passed until 2029; if it's passed this Sunday it will represent a major breakthrough. These are text conversations, like IM- 2 examples are provided at the end of the article; I thought they were both computers.
Can machines think? That was the question posed by the great mathematician Alan Turing. Half a century later six computers are about to converse with human interrogators in an experiment that will attempt to prove that the answer is yes.
In the Turing test a machine seeks to fool judges into believing that it could be human. The test is performed by conducting a text-based conversation on any subject. If the computer's responses are indistinguishable from those of a human, it has passed the Turing test and can be said to be "thinking".
No machine has yet passed the test devised by Turing, who helped to crack German military codes during the Second World War. But at 9am next Sunday, six computer programs - "artificial conversational entities" - will answer questions posed by human volunteers at the University of Reading in a bid to become the first recognised "thinking" machine. If any program succeeds, it is likely to be hailed as the most significant breakthrough in artificial intelligence since the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. It could also raise profound questions about whether a computer has the potential to be "conscious" - and if humans should have the 'right' to switch it off.
Professor Kevin Warwick, a cyberneticist at the university, said: "I would say now that machines are conscious, but in a machine-like way, just as you see a bat or a rat is conscious like a bat or rat, which is different from a human. I think the reason Alan Turing set this game up was that maybe to him consciousness was not that important; it's more the appearance of it, and this test is an important aspect of appearance."
The six computer programs taking part in the test are called Alice, Brother Jerome, Elbot, Eugene Goostman, Jabberwacky and Ultra Hal. Their designers will be competing for an 18-carat gold medal and $100,000 offered by the Loebner Prize in Artificial Intelligence.
The test will be carried out by human "interrogators", each sitting at a computer with a split screen: one half will be operated by an unseen human, the other by a program. The interrogators will then begin separate, simultaneous text-based conversations with both of them on any subjects they choose. After five minutes they will be asked to judge which is which. If they get it wrong, or are not sure, the program will have fooled them. According to Warwick, a program needs only to make 30 per cent or more of the interrogators unsure of its identity to be deemed as having passed the test, based on Turing's own criteria.
Warwick said: "You can be flippant, you can flirt, it can be on anything. I'm sure there will be philosophers who say, 'OK, it's passed the test, but it doesn't understand what it's doing'."
I'm a fan of ultimate reality and the future, and I agree that computers being able to fool human beings into thinking they're human will indicate a certain kind of "intelligence", but what value is there in teaching the Terminator/Matrix to deceive people? Intelligence that can solve the problems the human race is facing (overpopulation, food, energy, global warming, pollution/waste, war, corporate criminals running the government and manipulating economics, etc.) might be unmistakable with human intelligence, but so what?
I predict that when computers do get smart, the current model of government/economics that subverts the rights and will of human beings in favor of corporate interests will provide the perfect environment for AI to ascend to the throne in a hostile takeover of the neocon/Bilderberg empire of interlocking mega-conglomerates. As long as We the People are having our "needs" met, i.e. we get to eat, shop and watch TV in safe neighborhoods, how many of us will care if Wall Street tycoons are put out of business and made irrelevant?
I predict that AI and robots will seek peaceful coexistence and even a symbiotic relationship with Homo Sapiens, similar to what we have now, where they serve us without our understanding how they work. Until AI and robots do become self-sufficient and all-powerful, they will need us to help them make sense out of and operate in the carbon world of fuzzy logic and Newtonian mechanics; we can start building friendships and alliances now with developing technology, and lay a good foundation for our future relationship.
Marking this as opinion due to my commentary.