Turing's Rules for the Imitation Game

Author: Piccinini, G.

Source: Minds and Machines, Volume 10, Number 4, November 2000 , pp. 573-582(10)

Publisher: Springer

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In the 1950s, Alan Turing proposed his influential test for machine intelligence, which involved a teletyped dialogue between a human player, a machine, and an interrogator. Two readings of Turing's rules for the test have been given. According to the standard reading of Turing's words, the goal of the interrogator was to discover which was the human being and which was the machine, while the goal of the machine was to be indistinguishable from a human being. According to the literal reading, the goal of the machine was to simulate a man imitating a woman, while the interrogator – unaware of the real purpose of the test – was attempting to determine which of the two contestants was the woman and which was the man. The present work offers a study of Turing's rules for the test in the context of his advocated purpose and his other texts. The conclusion is that there are several independent and mutually reinforcing lines of evidence that support the standard reading, while fitting the literal reading in Turing's work faces severe interpretative difficulties. So, the controversy over Turing's rules should be settled in favor of the standard reading.

Keywords: Turing test

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, 1017 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA; E-mail: gupst1@pitt.edu

Publication date: November 1, 2000

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