'Intelligent' Computers Put to the Test

Can machines think? That was the question posed by the great mathematician Alan Turing. Half a century later six computers are about to converse with human interrogators in an experiment that will attempt to prove that the answer is yes.

In the Turing test a machine seeks to fool judges into believing that it could be human. The test is performed by conducting a text-based conversation on any subject. If the computer's responses are indistinguishable from those of a human, it has passed the Turing test and can be said to be "thinking".

No machine has yet passed the test devised by Turing, who helped to crack German military codes during the Second World War. But at 9am next Sunday, six computer programs - "artificial conversational entities" - will answer questions posed by human volunteers at the University of Reading in a bid to become the first recognised "thinking" machine. If any program succeeds, it is likely to be hailed as the most significant breakthrough in artificial intelligence since the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. It could also raise profound questions about whether a computer has the potential to be "conscious" - and if humans should have the 'right' to switch it off.

View: The Guardian

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"It could also raise profound questions about whether a computer has the potential to be "conscious" - and if humans should have the 'right' to switch it off."

I don't see how or why it would raise such profound questions. They are tailoring the "AI" of these machines to specifically try and fool a human into believing it is not a machine on the other end. This is not thinking, let alone something even close to consciousness. These machines are carrying out one specific task...the task they were designed for. Nothing more. Nothing Less.

To suggest that this is even remotely a form of consciousness merely seems like a ploy to get people to read the article...but its the guardian so what do you expect. Not to mention unless these machines are using a ****load of corpus data on current trends and pop culture...figuring out that its not a human would be trivial. Look at the example conversations they give...rigid questions with no form of personality in the answers just answers questions with questions...so unless your ready to make the assumption that your talking to a giant philosophical ******* on the other end, you can safely assume its a computer.

I mean come on, did anyone look at their examples and actually not be able to figure out which was the human and which was the computer? Add in the fact that the computer appears to be adhearing to some pretty rigid english standards that you would be hard pressed to find these days and you have an easy to spot...computer, or did they think by throwing in the occasional spelling error someone would be fooled?