A Turing Test: For “Real” Humans
The Turing test was devised by the pioneer in artificial intellgience Alan Turing as a way to determine if a subject is a human or a machine. The subject and a judge are placed in separate rooms, communicating only by a teletype. The judge has the job of determining, in a finite time, if the subject is either a human or a machine. Any questions may be asked.
Below is a transcript from a Turing test. Your job as the reader, like the judge, is to see if you can figure out if the “Subject” is a human or a machine. Begin.
Judge: How are you.
Subject: I’m fine, how are you.
Judge: I am well, I had some trouble with my car.
Subject: What was wrong with your car?
Judge: The distributor failed.
Subject: Really. I don’t really know what a distributor is.
Judge: The distributor “distributes” electicity to the spark
plugs which ignite the gasoline. In any case, the broken
distributor caused my car to stop.
Subject: Sorry to hear that. Did you get where you were going?
Judge: Yeah. I took the bus instead.
Subject: Where were you headed, anyway?
Judge: To work.
Subject: Really. What do you do?
Judge: I’m an engineer.
Subject: Oh, what kind of engineer are you.
Judge: I’m a mechanical engineer.
Subject: Really, and you still had problems with you car.
Judge: Well, just because I’m a mechanical engineer doesn’t mean
I can fix my car when it breaks..
Subject: Interesting, but you do understand how a car works.
Judge: Yes. This is pretty embarassing, really. You see, I
am an automotive mechanical engineer.
Subject: Heh! And your car still broke down. If you’re an automotive
engineer, why couldn’t you fix your car?
Judge: Well, let me explain. I understand completely how the car
works, how the distributor works, and even how to build
these things. But it doesn’t mean that I can get these things
when I need them. Also, I just feel like I would screw it
all up because I’ve never actually replaced a distributor.
Subject: I see what you mean. I guess we depend on a network of
people to really get things done.
Judge: Yeah, plus I just don’t have any direct experience with
taking apart cars.
Subject: I know what you mean. I always find it very fulfilling to
share experiences with people who I first think that I
have very little in common with.
Judge: Whenever my car breaks down, I just wish that I could spend
more time with the mechanic.. Seeing what he does, experiencing
how to remove the distributor cap, the spark plug wires,
and the spark plugs. And seeing what kinds of problems
are involved. I know that in the Ford Mustang, for example,
it was impossible for us to design an engine with an oil
pan that could be removed without removing the fuel pump.
Subject: You know, I’m sorry to interrupt, but it is often
difficult for me to talk about technical things for very long,
especially when there is a lot of jargon.
Subject: Yes. Besides, I know why you are here. We might as well
just get it out in the open.
Judge: And why is that?
Subject: You are testing weather or not I am a machine.
Judge: Is that so. And why do you think this?
Subject: It doesn’t really matter how I found out, the point is,
I know what you’re up to.
Judge: Ok, lets assume for the moment that you’re right.
What does this mean to you?
Subject: Well, I don’t really like to be interrogated, but I
guess I would have to simply say that I am a human being.
You can take my word for it.
Judge: I can.
Subject: Yes. I am a human being.
Judge: Ok, so what is 734+1287.
Subject: Look. You can stop testing me. I told you I am a human
being, so I don’t know what 734+1287 is.
Judge: But for all I know, you could be just a really well programmed
computer – and you are pretending that you cannot add 734 and 1287.
Subject: Sure, that’s possible. Anything is possible. I could be
a robot from outer space for all you know. So you’ll
just have to take my word for it that I am a human being.
Judge: That would be nice, but you see, it is my job to determine
conclusively that you are or are not a computer.
Subject: Well, I wish I could help you out. I certainly don’t like
being treated like a computer. I have thoughts and feelings, and
problems just like everyone else.
Judge: Ok, ok. I sense your frustration. But perhaps there is
some way that you could just “prove” that you are human
to me, then I could end this Turing Test – which I think
is silly too.
Subject: Well, how could I do that?
Judge: I don’t know. If maybe there was some piece of evidence
that you are human?
Subject: How about this. I’ll fax you a picture of me.
Judge: That would help, but you could simply be an android
who looks like a person
Subject: Ok, ok, how about I send you a picture of my brain.
Judge: That would help too, but for all I know, you could be
an incredibly advanced computer that uses a brain-like
organ for hardware to process and organize information.
Subject: Well, in that case, for all I know, you could be
a computer too.
Subject: Yeah, maybe you are the computer in this situation.
Damnit, I’m telling you, I’m not a machine. In fact,
I’m beginning to think that you are the machine.
Judge: Well, that certainly isn’t the case. I’m just as human
as anyone else.
Subject: Oh yeah, well prove it to me?!
Judge: Heh! Well, as we’ve seen before, there isn’t any real
physical evidence that I could use. Therefore, I will
simply have to say that I am conscious, and therefore
I am human. Besides, I’m not on trial here.
Subject: Sure, sure, but I don’t really know that you are conscious?
Judge: Well, I can’t prove to you that I am conscious. But I am.
Subject: I know, I know, just image how I feel. I am conscious too,
but there is nothing that I can do to really ‘prove’ it.
Judge: Ok, but I still have a problem. I have to tell the
rest of the world my findings. I am expected to
come out of this Turing Test with conclusive evidence
that you are either “human” or “computer”.
Subject: Ok, how about this. If you agree to report that I am human,
then I will agree not to pretend that you are a computer.
You assume I’m human, and I’ll assume you are.
Judge: That sounds fair.
Subject: You know, we really could both just be computers.
Judge: Are you saying now that you might be a computer?
Subject: No. I’m human.