14 June 2015

Summary of 'Computing Machinery and Intelligence' (1950) by Alan Turing

Can Machines Think?

This question begins Alan Turing's paper 'Computing Machinery and Intelligence' (1950). However he found the form of the question unhelpful, that even the process of defining 'machines' and 'think' in common terms would be dangerous, as it could mistakenly lead one to think the answer can be obtained from some kind of statistical survey.

Instead, he replaced the question with 'The Imitation Game' - a game of two rooms. In one sits a man (A) and a woman (B). In the other sits an interrogator (C) who must determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman through a series of typewritten communication [1].
  • A's objective is to cause C to make the incorrect identification
  • B's objective is to help C to make the correct identification.
Turing noted that the best strategy for the woman (B) is probably to give truthful answers, adding things like "I am the woman, don't listen to him!" to her answers, but this alone will not be enough as the man (A) can make similar remarks.

He then reframed the original question as 'What happens when a machine takes the role of A?' Will the interrogator still decide incorrectly as many times if the role is performed by a machine?

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