Computable Minds -

The Turing test and the Chinese room

Posted on: Sep, 21st 2010
Turing test diagram
Today I woke up philosophical so I'm going to explain the famous Turing test.
The Turing test was proposed in a scientific paper called "Computing Machinery and Intelligence", wrote by Alan Turing in 1950. This is a test that must surpass a machine in order to show that it is intelligent.

In the test there are three isolated rooms with terminals to chat. In one of them there are a human that will make questions, and in the rest there are another human and a machine, that will make the answers.

The interrogator doesn't know which one is the room where is the machine and which one is the room where is the human. Have to guess, from the answers, what is the room where is each one (assuming that the machine will lie when be questioned about its human condition). If the interrogator doesn't find out where is each one, with a hit rate higher than expected by random, it will consider that the machine is sufficiently intelligent to impersonate a human.

Against the validity of the Turing test, to probe that a machine is intelligent, is the idea that seem intelligent is not the same that be intelligent. To show it, John Searle proposed the mental experiment of the Chinese room, that consist in a person, that doesn't know Chinese, closed in a room with the manuals of rules and symbols to translate the Chinese. Outside of the room, someone give to him, through a slot, texts in a paper wrote in Chinese, and with the help of the manuals he translate and answer them, making believe to the person outside the room that really knows Chinese. The idea that wants transmit John Searle with this experiment is that the machine makes the things neither knowing what is doing, nor why it does, simply apply a rules that someone have put there.

Here emerge the dichotomy of artificial intelligence, in the strong AI and the weak AI. The strong AI, the branch in that it think that simulate be intelligent is the same that be intelligent and therefore a machine can have the same intelligence of a human. The weak AI, is the branch of the ones that think as Searle that know a rules and know apply it without knowing what is the reason of that, is not to be intelligent and therefore, the intelligence of a machine never could be like the human.

The supporters of the strong AI, say that the system, formed by the person inside the room and the manuals, is possible that understand Chinese, the weak AI, answer to it saying that the system doesn't understand what it is doing, only executes an action.

Me, personally, I'm in the side of the strong AI, because for me, the weak AI always talk about the human intelligence as superior because the human knows that is applying determinate rules to achieved a target, that is the same that says that the differentiator element between the human intelligence and the machine is the conscious thought, but really, us also we do a lot of things in a unconscious way, in the same way that the machines do it.

Extrapolating this to the experiment of the Chinese room, we could look at the difference between have the manuals inside or outside the head. When we have learned a language, we have the manuals in the mind and we apply the rules unconsciously in a mechanical way, without knowing how we do it, how if we were machines. That is to say, that the fact of apply a rules without knowing that you are applying it in a unconscious way, doesn't produce an answer more intelligent than apply it a conscious way, knowing that the you are applying it and why. Therefore, both kinds of intelligence, conscious and unconscious, for practical purposes are equivalent.

But the key difference, the conscience, perhaps doesn't exist, would be only an algorithm more. That is to say, a set of rules that would apply mechanically our brain to make us believe that we are conscious, and we wouldn't be more than biological machines without power of decision. Is very difficult to accept ideas like that we are machines and our conscience isn't more than our brain creating the sensation that we control our thoughts. But, if a hypothesis is more feared, doesn't mean that would be less true. For instance, is more easy believed that when we die we will follow existing in a supernatural way, that assume the rational and logic, that we will disappear definitively. The fact of think that really we don't have conscience but our brain makes us believe that we have it, is a thought a lot of more disturbing because we have to admit that we haven't freewill. This is terrible, is practically as think that never we have existed.

¿What is your side, the strong AI or the weak AI? ¿Do you think that exist the conscience and the freewill or do you think that are only simulations of the brain?

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Date: May, 21st 2011 Time: 5:44:34


it will help me summarizing this topic...

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