ADVERTISEMENT

Is The Turing Test Really A Measure Of Machine Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence permeates all aspects of modern day life, right from movie tickets to banking, and dating to making reservations at restaurants. It all began with Alan Turing, a British computer scientist, who is widely regarded as the “father of #artificialintelligence (AI).” He proposed a test (the #Turingtest) for assessing machine intelligence. It posits that if a machine can reliably lull a human conversational partner into thinking that it was human the machine demonstrates real artificial intelligence.

The original version of the test required both a human and a computer to have a conversation with a human judge solely by means of text. If the judge was unable to differentiate the machine from the human, the machine would have passed the Turing test for machine intelligence. Turing speculated that by the year 2000, computer programs would stymie an average human judge 30% of the times – after 5 minutes of questioning. The “5 minutes” part is important. Though, to give Turing his due, he didn’t talk about the time limit as being an integral part of the test. However, it can be argued that for a machine to really pass the Turing test, it must be able to deal with any amount of questioning. Therefore, shorter the conversation, greater the machine’s advantage; longer the conversation, greater the odds of the machine giving itself away.

ADVERTISEMENT

Many people have always felt that machines are never going to upstage humans in terms of intelligence. However, when IBM’s Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov, the world chess champion, in a 6-match chess series, people finally started to have second thoughts. Since then it has been established that machines are getting smarter day-by-day. But are machines smart enough to pass the Turing test? Proponents of the Turing test say that a successful artificial intelligence (AI) is worthless if its intelligence is trapped within an unresponsive program.

However, the critics of the Turing test claim that the test is solely aimed at testing the ability of a machine to imitate human intelligence and not the means of attaining intelligence. For instance, a person will find it difficult to calculate the value of 39877/139, which is pretty simple for a machine. However, if a machine has to mimic #humanintelligence, it would take time in coming up with the answer.

Furthermore, the innate #complexityoflanguage is responsible for the issues associated with creating a talking machine. Context plays a central role in language; for us, understanding the context is easy; for machines, not so much. Therefore, a chatbot’s arsenal consists of a bag of tricks designed to hide the program’s limitations. These include memorizing megabytes of responses and scouring the internet for dialogue pertinent to the conversation at hand. So essentially, whatever a machine lacks in intelligence it makes up for it in raw computing power. This is the reason why Alexa or Siri seem so smart to us.

Contributed by Praveena L Ramanujam, PhD (IISER, Pune)

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments

READ THIS NEXT

Sclerostin Vaccine Prevents Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis tops the cause of chronic bone abnormality, putting the skeleton at a risk of fracture due to severely low […]

Asteroids And Comets Shower Mars With Organics

Life as we know it is based on water and organic compounds. Studying how water and organics form, evolve and […]

Using CRISPR Technology To Study Autophagy And How Viruses Use Stress-Induced Pathways

All cells have ways of conserving energy during times of stress. One strategy is to reuse larger or older cellular […]

What Is A Good IQ Score?

Maybe you’re wondering what a good IQ score is because you’re thinking about taking, or have recently taken, an IQ […]

Formal Region: Definition And Types

Regions are categories, and like all categories, they exist to help us group things together and make sense of the […]

Nanotechnology For Sensitive Detection Of The Carcinoembryonic Antigen: A Cancer Biomarker

The carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is one of the most important clinical cancer biomarkers.  It is reported that an increase in […]

Anatomical Heart: Learn The Heart Through Illustrations

The anatomical human heart is the organ responsible for cycling blood throughout the human body, providing the tissues in the […]

Science Trends is a popular source of science news and education around the world. We cover everything from solar power cell technology to climate change to cancer research. We help hundreds of thousands of people every month learn about the world we live in and the latest scientific breakthroughs. Want to know more?