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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Turing test:What really happened to the thinking, feeling computer?

Here's a longish essay on the state of artificial intelligence, that should be must-reading for people who have been taken in by predictions of thinking, feeling computers.

Not only hasn't it happened, but it is unlikely to happen. Mark Halpern, who has spent fifty years working with computer software helps explain why in the Winter 2006 edition of The New Atlantis.

In October 1950, computer genius Alan Turing published a paper titled "Computer machinery and Intelligence" in the British quarterly Mind, according to which properly programmed computers would generally be accepted as thinking by about 2000. That is, they would successfully respond to human questions in a human-like way. Turing proposed his famous "Turing Test" in that paper. Can you tell the difference between interacting with a computer and interacting with a human?

Anyone who has suffered through the Muzak on a hold line offering a number of useless canned options and responded by hammering the zero button to get hold of a person at a call center in Bangalore, India, or New Brunswick, Canada, can certainly tell the difference. And this is now 2006 and counting.

In 1950 very few people had any idea of the supercomputer-like complexity of a single cell. Your body sheds millions of them every day, shrugs (so to speak), and recruits more. Never mind what the human brain is like either - that's the most complex object in the universe, and it is nothing like a computer. People don't think the way computers process jobs. Never have and never will.
Read more.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.


Are you looking for one of the following stories?

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

The Pope using the term "intelligent design" to describe the Catholic view of origins, go here.

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams attacked by Darwinist, hits back. Will he now cartoon on the subject?

"Academic Freedom Watch : Here's the real, ugly story behind the claim that 'intelligent design isn't science'?".

Roseville, California, lawyer Larry Caldwell is suing over the use of tax money by Darwin lobby groups to promote religious views that accept Darwinian evolution (as opposed to ones that don’t). I’m pegging this one as the next big story. See also the ruling on tax funds. Note the line that the “free speech” people take.
How to freak out your bio prof? What happened when a student bypassed the usual route of getting frogs drunk and dropping them down the chancellor’s robes, and tried questioning Darwinism instead.

Christoph, Cardinal Schonbon is not backing down from his contention that Darwinism is incompatible with Catholic faith, and Pope Benedict XVI probably thinks that’s just fine. Major US media have been trying to reach rewrite for months, with no success.

Museum tour guides to be trained to "respond" to those who question Darwinism. Read this item for an example of what at least one museum hopes to have them say.

World class chemist dissed at Catholic university because he sympathizes with intelligent design.
Blog policy note:Comments are permitted on this blog, but they are moderated. Fully anonymous posts and URLs posted without comment are rarely accepted. To Mr. Anonymous: I'm not psychic, so if you won't tell me who you are, I can't guess and don't care. To Mr. Nude World (URL): If you can't be bothered telling site visitors why they should go on to your fave site next, why should I post your comment? They're all busy people, like you. To Mr. Rudesby International and Mr. Pottymouth: I also have a tendency to delete comments that are merely offensive. Go be offensive to someone who can smack you a good one upside the head. That may provide you with a needed incentive to stop and think about what you are trying to accomplish. To Mr. Righteous but Wrong: I don't publish comments that contain known or probable factual errors. There's already enough widely repeated misinformation out there, and if you don't have the time to do your homework, I don't either. To those who write to announce that at death I will either 1) disintegrate into nothingness or 2) go to Hell by a fast post, please pester someone else. I am a Catholic in communion with the Church and haven't the time for either village atheism or aimless Jesus-hollering. Why do you?

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