‘Only By Counting Could Humans Demonstrate Their Independence Of Computers’– Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy)
Usually your laptop does exactly what you tell it to do and then there are days, it doesn’t respond at all or just goes its own sweet way. It is almost as if its refusing to do what you are asking it to do.
That seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? It is a machine! You are letting your imagination run away with itself, reading too much into things. What is your computer doing? It can’t really think on its own, or can it?
THE TURING TEST
Alan Turing designed a very simple test based on a parlor game popular at that time. In this ‘imitation game‘ (yes that is how that movie name came around to be), a man and a woman are put into separate rooms. A third player asks them questions that they answer in writing. Based on these answers, the third player has to identify who among them is the woman and who is the man.
So What About Computers?
For computers, the rules remain the same. But instead of a man and a woman, the questions are answered by a human and a machine. The machine is said to have passed the test if the questioner cannot tell by their answers which is the computer and who is the human.
So What Does It Mean For The Computer To Have Passed the Test?
This is where it becomes philosophical. Turing would say that a machine which gives answers indistinguishable from a human is showing intelligence. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE BUT INTELLIGENCE NONETHELESS.
‘ Machines take me by surprise with great frequency ‘– Alan Turing
So What Is Your Computer Really Thinking?
Maybe, it isn’t thinking in the same way as we think of thinking. But what else would you call it. Maybe it all depends on what you mean by ‘think‘.
Inspired by C.H.O.N.K.S