Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Can I pass the Turing test?

Turing Test (XKCD)
Overheard in my kitchen in the midst of the controlled chaos that preceded the serving of Thanksgiving dinner:  "Could you pass a Turing test?"

Translated from the geek this means, "Could you be any more literal minded?"

In challenge similar to several proposed by Alan Turing in the middle of the 20th century, one human interrogates a subject that is either a computer or a human.  If the examiner can't tell whether the subject is an artifical intelligence (AI) or a human, and it turns out to be a computer, the computer is said to have passed the Turing test.  (You can try being the examiner in a Turing test here.  I tried it and could not reliably distinguish between the human and AI responses.  I'm not sure if that just means I don't understand humans.)

Meanwhile one of my students (AK) created an AI version of me.  She interviewed me about my contemplative practice and science, then took the interview apart and put into a story tree algorithm. Now you can click through various responses from the interview, not in the order I said them, but by following threads of your own choosing.

The interview was part of a class project for a psychology course on mindfulness, and I sat in on her presentation today.  Rather than click through it for us, she encouraged us all to explore "Dr. Francl" for a bit, then opened the floor for a discussion.  What I enjoyed most about the process was the deep silence as people wended their way through the interview.  That sounds like me!

Want to talk to me about contemplation, science, cooking and God in all things?  Try interrogating my AI self here:  Interviewing Dr. Francl

I'm curious if you know me IRL what you think of AK's simulcrum.

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