Will we ever ... take the Turing test for computers?

Original author: BBC (John Pavlus)
  • Transfer
Welcome dear!

The more we reflect on the future of our services, the more we want to dream about the colonization of space and artificial intelligence. More and more steps are being taken towards Mars, and small steps, such as Apple's Siri interface, are being made towards AI.

Therefore, undoubtedly, the entire IT industry will move in this vein, although conservatism and reliability should come first in our hosting field.

In a word, we will try to dilute “specific” articles with articles filled with a drop of “dream”.

What would you say if a computer could think like a human?

In 1950, Alan Turing, the father of computer science, proposed a simple test.
Step one:to develop a computer program that can simulate a human conversation. (Which was a feat, considering how primitive computers were in the middle of the 20th century).
Step two: place the computer behind a curtain or somehow hide it from sight.
Step Three: Invite a person to conduct a conversation with a computer through text messages. Fourth step: ask the person whether the invisible interlocutor is the same as he is a person or a machine.

If he or she mistakenly accepts a machine-generated conversation as a conversation with a person, then the conclusion: the computer, according to Turing, can say “think.”

This sounds more like an indoor game than a serious mental experiment, and many people regard it as such. However, the Turing test continued to be used in artificial intelligence research. Which even spawned an annual competition called the Lebner Prize, which has been held since 1991, where judges conduct short conversations with artificial intelligence programs and people, and then they must decide which of them is which. (The most “humane” prize is awarded).

Turing predicted that the computer would successfully pass his experiment until 2000, but to date, not a single program has passed this test - even the recent winner of the Lebner Prize 2012 Chip Vivant. This is partly due to the conditions of the test itself - for example, how long should a computer participate in a conversation before a person decides on his personality? 5 minutes? Three hours? Turing never spoke - but also because impeccably imitating human conversation proved to be much more difficult than anyone expected. So, what will it cost to build a machine that can pass the Turing test?

Watch your tongue

One thing we know for sure: success cannot be achieved by the “head on” solution method. In the early years of artificial intelligence research, “thinking” was understood as a simple combination of symbols using the rules of discrete mathematics. “In the 1960s, the idea arose of reducing“ the whole world ”to simple things and actions that you can name: a book, a table, talking, running,” says Robert French, a cognitive psychologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research. “All words in the dictionary are symbols that relate to our world. Therefore, if you arrange them all in a certain way, roughly speaking, thinking should appear. ”

But no. This approach, called "symbolic AI," collapses like a house of cards, because subjected to ambiguity. In the end, not a single rule will explain how to properly answer the common question “What's up?” (If you answer “Up is the opposite of down”, consider that you failed the Turing test). A tightly interconnected database may contain “smart” information, but this does not mean that it is smart. Brian Christian, author of The Most Human Human: What Artificial Intelligence Tells Us About Being Alive, says: “When we read a book, we don’t think the book has ideas.”

You can imitate human communication if you abandon logic and be anonymous. With such communication, each answer is loosely related in meaning to the previous message. And this communication model can easily be programmed. The so-called “chat bots” were common in the 60s. Eliza is one of the first chat bots in the world that essentially imitated a psychotherapist and responded to users using vocabulary from their messages. 3 times received the Loebner Prize in the 2000s with a similar program, the more complex bot "Alice". These bots can hardly claim artificial intelligence. What is funny, it is their almost emptyness that resembles human communication. “Alice” may have surpassed other programs, but she failed to deceive the living judges during the Turing test.

Photographic memory

Given that the mind is largely unconscious and consists of associative processes of perception, an interaction occurs between the individual who asks the question: “what does this look like?” And the world around him. This “sub-cognitive” information could include the memory of a bicycle breakdown and abrasion on the knee, or a piece of sandwich on the beach and a feeling of a crunch of sand between your teeth. It also includes more abstract things, as an answer to the following question: “Is the name Flugly better suited to a charming actress or teddy bear?”

Robert French claims that while this is nonsense, almost any English-speaking person would choose a teddy bear. Why? “The computer does not have a history of embodied experience of soft teddy bears, the contemplation of cute actresses, or even the sounds of the English language,” says the French scientist. “All these things allow people to answer such questions in a consistent way that the computer is not given.” Therefore, any free program has an Achilles heel when it comes to taking the Turing test.

But that may change soon. French refers to experiments on the phenomena of life, for example, the efforts of researcher Deb Roy (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA) to capture on video every moment of awakening of his infant, as a possible embodiment of this problem. “What if the computer had the same information, sound and visual impressions that a person has had for many, many years?” French says: “We can now collect this data. If the computer analyzes them and correlates them correctly, is it not unreasonable to assume that it will answer questions like the Flugly name question in the same way as a person? ”

French does not think that continuous analysis of such a massive data set will be possible in the near future. “But at some point in time, we will achieve this,” he says. If a computer program passes the Turing test - what will this mean in a practical sense? Will we consider the device reasonable? Or we’ll just add “capable of communication” to an ever-growing list of interesting things that computers can do, such as “defeat a person in chess” (as Dark Blue IBM did in a match with Garry Kasparov in 1997).

Well-known programmer Edsger Dijkstra said that "the question of whether cars can think is almost as relevant as the question of whether submarines can float." Leaving the “mind” aside, you can be sure that a computer that can pass the Turing test does exactly one thing very well: it talks to people like a person. Which means that the Turing test can simply be replaced by other questions, those that are not so difficult to answer. “A computer can emulate a human being,” says Brian Christian. “But to what?”

Also popular now: