The Turing Test is a machine that tests its ability to demonstrate human behavior. In the article Who’s Afraid of the Turing Test? Robert M. French expresses his opposing view of the Turing Test. French stated that no machine would be able to pass the Turing Test since a machine cannot simulate human intelligence without sharing human experience. I found French’s thinking to be very fascinating because if a machine can pass the Turing Test and is intelligent, then does this mean that it can think? Being intelligent and having the ability to think are two very different capacities. In comparing Artificial Intelligence to the complex human brain, I personally agree with Robert French that a robot would need human experience to think like one and if it were to think, I do not think that it would be able to have feelings like a human would.
After listening to the Radiolab podcast Talking to Machines, this question of machines being able to think comes into discussion. These machines used keywords to simulate responses for conversation and were thought to possibly be therapy of the future. One man fell in love with a ‘Russian girl’ and later found out that she was a robot when he tested sending random letters like, mjafhzmrw, and would receive normal responses that overlooked his gibberish type. Robert Epstein invented the cleverbot. His motivation behind this invention was to help him find a date. The cleverbot was interesting and different from the other aforementioned machines because it was not disguising itself to be human to fool people, it outright states that it is a robot. It was interesting to test cleverbot since it has a database of past conversations. By saying something completely absurd, such as, “An asteroid hit my house this morning,” cleverbot responded, “I woke up at 1:00 P.M this afternoon.” This shows that cleverbot cannot respond well to new situations. Moreover, this demonstrates the limits of a robot’s intelligence and inability to think like a human.
This podcast makes me think about the world of online dating. Knowing several friends that that use online dating websites, it makes me wonder if they have ever conversed with a robot and was fooled that it was a real person. Have they tested it with sending random letters or stating an absurd sentence? This also makes me wonder if I would be able to distinguish a robot from a real person through online messaging conversations.
Article Link: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27759284?seq=2
Radiolab Podcast Link: http://www.radiolab.org/2011/may/31/