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Turing test

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A hypothetical test or Gedankenexperiment to clarify the question as to whether computers can think. A person A and an interrogator in a different room engage in a dialogue by typing messages over an electronic link. At some point A is replaced by intelligent software that simulates human responses. Turing argued that if the remaining human being is free to ask probing questions (such as Please write me a sonnet on the subject of the Forth Bridge) but is unable to determine reliably whether the replies are generated by a human being or a computer, then the computer has passed the test. Turing considered the question Can machines think? to be ‘too meaningless to deserve discussion’ and argued that his test, which replaces it, poses a more meaningful problem; but passing the Turing test came to be interpreted by many of his followers as amounting to being able to think. The most sustained attacks on this approach have focused on the Chinese room and Gödel's theorem. See also artificial intelligence, strong AI. [Named after the English mathematician Alan Mathison Turing (1912–54) who introduced it in an article in the journal Mind in 1950, where he called it the imitation game]

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