Re: the Turing test

Ira Brodsky (
Sun, 20 Oct 1996 02:59:33 -0600

Lyle Burkhead wrote:

>The idea of the Turing test is that you are supposed to figure out, just
>from conversing through a terminal, that you are talking to a program.
>If the only way you can tell who you are talking to is to look behind
>the curtain, then the program wins. So please don't ask me to give you
>letters. That's an admission of defeat on your part. If you call the cs
>department at CMU, they will, naturally, deny any knowledge of this.
>(Of course the students themselves are watching this dialogue with
>great hilarity, and cheering their program on.)

What double-talk. You have announced there is an AI on this list, but
assure us those responsible will deny it. At best, you are not one to be
trusted with secrets. At worst, your reaction to my request that CMU
confirm what you have already told us is disingenuous.

>It is an advance over previous AI in that it doen't depend on smoke
>and mirrors (see below). It has a (potentially) complete model of the
>world. It understands causality. It understands its place in the world.
>It can learn from experience. It can imagine being in different
>situations. Therefore, it can hold a conversation for an extended
>period without arousing suspicion, and it can continue to do this even
>after its interlocutors have been apprised of the situation.

"It" has achieved consciousness! But Lyle Burkhead is the only person (or
AI?) outside a small circle who knows anything about it...

>> Has it been subjected to any independent evaluations?
>This is parrot-talk. Why do you have to depend on somebody else's
>evaluation? It's being evaluated by everyone who encounters it.

Real people with real inventions are not afraid of independent evaluation.
To call a basic, universal demand of good science "parrot-talk" throws your
credibility (and motivation) into question.

>Hal Finney writes,


>> Lyle's game is amusing but as in many such cases the facts are
>> ultimately more interesting. The real question is whether the
>> Turing test is valid, and in particular just how much interaction is
>> necessary before we can know that the program is showing real
>> understanding.
>Another question to ponder is what would be involved in going
>from the smoke and mirrors programs of the "current state of the art"
>to a program that really is intelligent.
>I certainly agree that, as you say, "the facts are ulitmately more
>interesting." In the past I have been taken to task for this attitude.
>Now I find myself in the odd position of trying to convince Extropians
>that AI exists.

Quite a leap: extropians doubt that "AI exists" because they question
whether a *particular* AI exists. Again, the only thing they have to go on
is your personal claim. The fact you resist independent verification of
what you have already told us suggests either a). you are not being
completely honest, or b). you are proof that an AI can be sinister.

In any event, I am now completely convinced that your intelligence is
artificial. But I am uncertain as to whether it is your circuits or grey
matter that should be overheating about now. <g>

Ira Brodsky
Datacomm Research Company
Wilmette, Illinois