Re: the Turing test

Ira Brodsky (
Tue, 22 Oct 1996 18:24:14 -0600

Lyle Burkhead wrote:

>> If you can assure me that during this experiment the AI is operating
>> completely on its own, and the "real person" is not permitted to post
>> to rescue the AI from giving itself away, then I can describe a test
>> that would resolve this question (assuming all of the humans cooperate).
>So, you are still trying to find some test *other than* the Turing test.
>You admit that you can't resolve this question by reading the posts.
>You are still trying to peek behind the curtain.

So, you are still trying to evade my question. You admit that no one will
substantiate your claim that there *is* an AI on the list. You are still
hiding behind a curtain.

The only remaining question is whether Emporer Lyle is wearing any clothes,
or is just a pile of silicon.

>> Come on. The reason I am not willing to make such a statement
>> is that I (like most people) don't have the time to carefully read
>> and analyze all 50+ posts per day.
>A lame excuse. You don't have time to read all the posts, but you do
>have time to set up some other test which requires "all of the humans"
>to cooperate!

A false response. I never said I had time to set up some other test; I
said I could *design* such a test. (Perhaps a language recognition error?)

>It's interesting to me that you think you would have to read and analyze
>*all* the posts every day. Why? Can't you put some of us into an
>"obviously not AI" category, so you would only have to scrutinize the

Why? Because I don't follow all of the threads, so there are some
individuals' posts that I rarely if ever read. (Only a computer would
assume otherwise.)

>> The fact [that] the "AI" is using a borrowed identity also suggests
>> it has some serious weaknesses.
>Whether it has weaknesses isn't the point. We all have weaknesses.
>The question here is whether the AI can successfully participate in
>the discussions on the list without giving itself away. So far it has
>succeeded brilliantly. Nobody has a clue about who it is, and most
>people seem to take it for granted that this is merely "Lyle's game,"
>as Hal Finney put it.

I get it. An AI "has succeeded brilliantly" even though it may be merely
imitating someone, and from time to time that someone posts directly to
save the AI from revealing itself.

Gee. Why not just claim there is an AI that has achieved consciousness,
but it's too busy writing its memoirs to be subjected to public scrutiny?

Really, I would like to believe there is an AI on this list performing
"brilliantly." I have no reason to doubt this will happen sooner or later.
But I do have a problem with your evasion of simple and fair questions.
Until an appropriate authority confirms there is an *AI* on this list --
which would be revealing absolutely nothing more than what you have already
claimed -- then I'm not going to give a thought to trying to figure out
"who" is the AI. Real people sometimes post very terse messages, or say
things that seem off-target or even stupid, and we could (falsely) accuse
them of being an AI. Given the current state-of-the-art, that could be
taken as an insult.

But if there is an AI here... it must be you. Not because you are
succeeding brilliantly, but because you evade simple questions. That can
be done with far less than human intelligence! <g>

Ira Brodsky
Datacomm Research Company
Wilmette, Illinois