Headline Feb 24, 2015/ ''' DANCING IN TECHNOLOGY '''


***SOMETIMES IT IS THE PEOPLE  no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine***.

Alan Turing wrote a sample interrogation that included the following questions:

Q : Please write me a sonnet on the subject of the Forth Bridge.

A : Count me out on this one. I never could write poetry.

Q : Add 34957 to 70764.

A : [pause about 30 seconds and then give as answer]  105621.

Turing did something clever in this example. Careful scrutiny shows that the respondent, after 30 seconds, made a slight mistake in addition. (The correct answer is 105,721).

Is that evidence that the respondent was a human? Perhaps. But then again, maybe it was a machine cagily playing an imitation game. 

Many objections have been made to Turing's proposed test. ''Not until a machine can write a sonnet or compose concerto because of thoughts and emotions felt, and not by the chance of chance fall of symbols, could we agree that machine equals brain,'' declared a famous brain surgeon, Sir Geoffrey Jefferson.

Turing's response seems somewhat flippant, but it was also subtle: ''The comparison is perhaps somewhat unfair because a sonnet written by a machine will better appreciated by another machine.''

There were also the more fundamental objection that even if a machine's answers were indistinguishable from a human's, that did no mean it had consciousness and its own intentions, the way human minds do.

When the human player of the Turing test uses words, he associated those words with real-world meanings, emotions, experiences, sensations and perceptions. Machines don't.

Without such connections, language is a game divorced from meaning. This critique pf the Turing Test remains the most debated topic of cognitive science.

Turing gave his own guess as to whether a computer might be able to win his imitation game :

''I believe that in about 50 years time it will be possible to program computers.........so well that an average interrogator will not have more than a  70% chance of making the right identification after five minutes of questioning.''

Fooling fewer that a third of interrogators for only five minutes is a pretty low bar. Still, it's now more than 60 years and the machines that enter Turing-test contests are at best engaging in a gimmicky conversational gambits.     

The latest claim of a machine having  ''passed''  the test was especially lame:

A Russian program pretended to be a 13-year-old from Ukraine who didn't speak English well. Even so, it fooled  barely a third of the questioners for for five minutes and no one would believe that the program was engaging in true thinking.

A new breed of computer processors that mimic the neural networks in the human brain might mean that, in a few years or decades, there may be machines that appear to learn and think like humans. These latest advances could even lead to a singularity:

A term that computer pioneer John von Neumann coined and the futurist Ray Kurzweil and the science fiction writer Vernor Vinge popularised to describe the moment when computers are not only smarter than humans-

But also can design themselves: To be even supersmarter and will thus no longer need us mortals.

In the meantime, most of the exciting new inventions, will involve watches, devices, social networks, and other innovations that connect humans more closely to machines, intimate partnership, rather than pursuing the mirage of machines:

That think on their own and try to replace us.

The flesh-and-blood complexities of Alan  Turing's life, as well as the very emotions that drove him, serve as a testament that the distinction between man and machine may be deeper than he surmised.

The Honour and Serving of the  ''operational research''  continues. Than you for reading,  -and maybe learning, and see Ya all on the one that follows: 

With respectful dedication to the Students of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' The Flesh And Blood Complexities Of Life.'''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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