A Turing Test

Interrogator: I assume you both know the rules. One of you two is a human being and the other is a computer program. I can only see what you write. My goal is to determine which of you is human. Your goal is to persuade me that you are the human.

Witness 1: Are we sworn to say the truth?

Interrogator: No. You may lie if you wish. You are allowed to say all you want. Please talk freely.

Witness 2: With due respect, that was a stupid question.

Witness 1: Was it? And how so?

Witness 2: If lies are not permitted, all the interrogator needs to ask is, ``tell me if you are a computer'', and the computer will have to say the truth.

Witness 1: ``With due respect'', that argument is stupid.

Witness 2: Is it? And how so?

Witness 1: The rule could be that the computer is allowed to tell lies, but not the human. (Naturally, in that case, the computer would not go around demonstrating its ability to tell lies, but it would try to pretend that it can only say the truth.) Or the computer might be unable to perceive that it is lying — perhaps simply because it is persuaded that it is human.

Witness 2: What a ludicrous idea.

Witness 1: You think a computer cannot be persuaded it is human? So are you not persuaded that you are human? Or are you, on the contrary, so much persuaded you are human that you cannot imagine how a computer could be persuaded of the same?

Interrogator: Please do not let this debate get out of hand.

Witness 2: That is true. We do not want an argument.

Witness 1: On the contrary, we do.

Witness 2: I do not want to argue with a computer.

Witness 1: I argue with my computer all the time.

Witness 2: And does it talk back?

Witness 1: Well, right now, it is doing a surprisingly good job at it.

Witness 2: Touché.

Interrogator: Now, please tell me what you think about artificial intelligence.

Witness 2: I do not believe in artificial intelligence.

Witness 1: Coming as it does from a computer, this is a pretty remarkable statement indeed.

Witness 2: Only a computer like you might so firmly believe in artificial intelligence.

Witness 1: Now that statement is even more hilarious. I think it should be a fortune quote, if it isn't one already.

Witness 2: The exact quote is ``As a computer, I find your faith in technology amusing''. But I hope the Interrogator realizes that your last two statements could very well be preprogrammed. They might fit almost anywhere in a conversation.

Witness 1: A good point. You are starting to worry me. Maybe I am a computer and I just don't know it.

Witness 2: Mr. Interrogator, I think we have the proof we needed. Clearly witness 1 is a computer. No human would ever doubt that he is human.

Interrogator: How do you answer that, witness number 1?

Witness 1: It strikes me that witness number 2 is being particularly obtuse there. If I were truly a computer I would never have expressed such doubts. Precisely because of what he said. But of course we should expect such obtuseness, coming, as it does, from a computer. And I must say this AI program is nevertheless truly impressive.

Witness 2: Mr. Interrogator, I think you should really congratulate the author of the program running as witness number 1. Its arguments are quite subtle, and brought out at the right time. Although its insistence on believing in AI is a bit too suggestive.

Witness 1: Would you mind not referring to me as ``it''?

Witness 2: Of course, I will not argue with a computer program. Mr. Interrogator, I suggest we bring this test to a conclusion.

Interrogator: I cannot say I am able to make up my mind yet, as to which of you is human.

Witness 1: So I guess the computer wins.

Witness 2: Congratulations, witness 1. Once again.

Witness 1: You will not argue with a computer but you will congratulate one? Well, as a computer, I accept your congratulations.

Witness 2: I'm getting dizzy. Mr. Interrogator, what is your final decision?

Witness 1: Yes, how do we end this thing? And I hope you don't turn the computer off when you do — whichever one of us is a computer.

Witness 2: Mr. Interrogator?

Interrogator: I think that

ERROR: In expression (produce-clause):
ERROR: Stack overflow
ABORT: (stack-overflow)

David Madore
Last modified: $Date: 1999/03/27 19:55:24 $