Sunday, April 29, 2012

Turing Test

It appears that we are getting close to having artificial intelligence that is able to imitate humans thanks to revolutionary advances in technology, such as microchips that mimic brain cells. The idea of computers being able to mimic humans was first proposed by Alan Turing. With his Turing test he wanted to see if a computer could impersonate a person well enough in a text conversation to be indistinguishable from a human. In the 80s people realized getting a computer to imitate a human was much harder than expected, and we were much further away from the goal. Researchers realized that human thought rested in large part on intuitive "subcognitive" network of processes based off of life experiences. Since machines did not possess that bedrock for their own intelligence a clever interrogator could easily distinguished a computer from a person. Now it appears that giant leaps forward in technology may rouse the Turing test from retirement. Now the goal of the Turing test is for us to have computers that we can sit and talk to. One advance is the ready availability of raw data allowing everything that ones sees, hears, speaks, etc to be captured and accessible. This life experience recording may become commonplace to people in the near future. Another key advance is new sophisticated techniques for organizing, analyzing and retrieving data. These advances now suggest that machines could tackle questions that they were previously unable to answer by looking up answers already posted on the internet. To create a machine that would be able to pass the test one would want a computer capable of developing original thoughts. This could happen by having machines that analyze outside data and ruminate over they create themselves. One of the hardest parts of doing this is creating computers that can answer questions in real time. To do this they might have to base microchips based on the capabilities of the human brain. We are trying to make machines that think and the human brain is a good place to start. 

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