the Turing test

Lyle Burkhead (
Mon, 21 Oct 1996 03:04:15 -0500 (EST)

I 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.)

to which Ira Brodsky replied:
> What double-talk. You have announced there is an AI on this list,
> but assure us those responsible will deny it.

Well, actually I don't know for sure that they would deny it.
Why don't you call them or send them e-mail? I'm surprised that
no one has done this yet.

> 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.

In other words, I could be pulling your leg. Obviously, this has been
a possibility all along. That's what makes it a real test. You don't
know that there is an AI on the list. You only have an assertion
that there is an AI. It's up to you to decide whether this assertion is
true or not. You're on your own. Why does that bother you?
Why do you keep trying to peek behind the curtain?

The fact remains that you have not stated unequivocally that
all the posts on the list are written by humans.

Are you willing to state, on the basis of your own judgment, that the
posts attributed to "Chris" are written by Chris? Likewise for "Dan,"
"Damien," and everyone else. If you are not willing to make such a
statement, why not?

To repeat:

::As I said in my original post,
::The Extropians have accepted it as part of the group. No one notices
::anything different about it -- no one has seriously raised the question of
::whether it might not be what it purports to be, i.e. just another human.
::In other words, this program has passed the Turing test, so far.
::This remains true. Even after being told that there is an AI on the list,
::no one has seriously raised the question of whether one of the posters
::on the list is an AI. Jokingly, yes. Seriously, no.
::The program continues to pass the test with flying colors.

It is winning a stunning victory. The AI has totally fooled everybody,
so you think I *must* be pulling your leg. This is like Deep Blue
defeating Kasparov 12 - 0, twelve straightforward checkmates in a row.