RuCCS Colloquia

Resurrecting the Turing Test

Dr. Stuart Shieber

Tuesday, October 02, 2007, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

Harvard University, Maxwell-Dworkin Laboratory

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In 1950, Alan Turing proposed his eponymous test of machines -- based� on verbal indistinguishability from humans -- which he intended as a� replacement for the question "Can machines think?"� Since then, the� primary philosophical question concerning the Turing Test is whether� or not it is well-founded as a sufficient condition for intelligence.� The state of play on the question has led to the following� stalemate:� On one hand, conventional wisdom among philosophers is� that the Test is conceptually flawed as a sufficient condition for� intelligence; Ned Block's "Aunt Bertha Machine" thought experiment is� the crispest argument for this view.� On the other hand is the� overwhelming sense that were a machine to pass a real live full- fledged Turing Test, it would be a sign of nothing but our orneriness� to deny it the attribution of intelligence; this, roughly speaking,� is Daniel Dennett's view.� In this talk, I present the background for� the debate, and apply ideas from theoretical computer science and� physics in novel ways in order to cut this Gordian knot.� The talk� should be accessible by the general public.

Dr. Stuart Shieber


The RuCCS Colloquia Series is organized by Dr. Julien Musolino and Dr. Sara Pixley. The talks are held on Tuesdays in the Psychology Building, Room 101 on the Busch Campus from 1:00-2:30pm.

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