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 ā€“ after 5 minutes of questioning. The ā€œ5 minutesā€ part is important. Though, to give Turing his due, he didnā€™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 machineā€™s advantage; longer the conversation, greater the odds of the machine giving itself away.

Many people have always felt that machines are never going to upstage humans in terms of intelligence. However, when IBMā€™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 chatbotā€™s arsenal consists of a bag of tricks designed to hide the programā€™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)

About The Author

PR
Praveena Ramanujam

Praveena is a research scientist at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, PUNE.

Speak Your Mind!

READ THIS NEXT

Bending (But Not Breaking) The Second Law Of Thermodynamics Using A ā€œThermal Inductorā€

The fundamental laws of thermodynamics The first law of thermodynamics is widely known, even outside scientific classrooms, because it introduces ā€œheatā€ into the balance of energy conservation. In a simplified version, we can say that the sum of the heat and of the work done on a body corresponds to the change in the total […]

Male Mate-Copying Practices In Drosophila melanogaster MalesĀ 

Finding the right partner can be difficult, time-consuming, and prone to errors. And that is true for species across the tree of life, not just humans. To avoid these costs, animals from a wide range of taxa have been shown to use public information, i.e. information that is accessible to all individuals. In particular, individuals […]

An Invasive Plant Capable Of Causing Blindness And 3rd Degrees Burns Has Appeared In Virginia

A plant known as giant hogweed, sometimes just hogweed, may be spreading into the state of Virginia. Local plant experts and authorities are concerned about the appearance of the plant within the state because hogweed creates a clear sap that is quite dangerous. Exposure to the plantā€™s sap can cause intense blisters, third-degree burns, and […]

The 5th Dimension

The 5th dimension remains in debate but many believe it could represent an undefined or unknown dimension in space that is unknowable to humans. Einstein’sĀ general theory of relativity defines the 4th dimension as time and another 5th dimension yet to be discovered. Even the most well-read intellectuals or the most-highly qualified and experienced scientists are […]

Comparison Of Pollution Into Water Catchments From Snowmelt-Runoff Vs Rainfall-Runoff

Urbanization has accelerated in recent years worldwide, and cropland and woodlands have been converted to roads, buildings, and other paved areas. This development has increased the impermeability of urban surfaces and changed the build-up and wash-off processes of nonpoint source (NPS) pollutants. As a climate-driven event, NPS pollution can be caused by rainfall- or snowmelt-runoff […]

Meiosis Metaphase 1

Meiosis is how sex cells reproduce, dividing their chromosomes by half to create four haploid cells which are distinct from the original cells that birthed them. Meiosis has two different phases: meiosis one (meiosis I) and meiosis two (meiosis II). These phases are further divided into sub-phases, and metaphase one is a sub-phase of meiosis […]

Investigating Mechanisms Of Cancer Cell-Intrinsic CYP Monooxygenases That Contribute To Tumor Progression

There has been great interest in finding structural targets in cancer for the widely prescribed type 2 diabetes drug metformin. Metformin is a synthetic product derived from galegine, a guanide natural product found in French lilac. Documented use of galegine for human disease dates back to 1620, when John Parkinson first described the use of […]