Though many would argue that it should be killed, because it does nothing to further the science of understanding human consciousness and intelligence.
What is the Turing Test? When a machine, unseen and unheard deceives a human into believing that they are in conversation with another human, then that machine must necessarily be deemed intelligent. Why? Because it has mastered the art of deception, and has convinced that it is human through dialogue.
I contend that the Turing Test is the bottom rung on a long ladder to 'True AI'. It provides a platform to enable conversation between human and machine, thanks to Weizenbaum's paradigm seen in the first, pre-Internet natural language understanding system Eliza.
Turing's idea is simple yet brilliant. Turing even pointed the way to proceed with design of an artificial conversational entity (ACE - Shah, 2006). By dividing the problem into two parts: child programme and education process:
Instead of trying to produce a programme to simulate the adult mind,
why not rather try to produce one which simulates the child’s? If this
were then subjected to an appropriate course of education one would
obtain the adult brain (Turing, 1950 - see link to right).
Turing further added:
We cannot expect to find a good child-machine at the first attempt. One must experiment with teaching some such machine and see how well it learns.
Structure of the child-machine = Hereditary material
Changes in the child-machine = Mutations
Natural Selection = Judgment of the Experimenter
Turing added that a simple child-machine might be constructed on the principle of associating punishments and rewards with the teaching process.
Current ACE, based on Turing’s Test, can be seen in two annual competitions: Chatterbox Challenge (CBC) and the Loebner Prize.
The Loebner Prize is sponsored by American scientist and philanthropist Dr. H.G. Loebner. Transcripts of conversations from the Prize provide a feast of information about how human conversation works, an insight into human consciousness and the problem with defining conversational intelligence. It is so subjective.
© Huma Shah (first posted in blog in 2006)