Parsing the Turing Test is a landmark exploration of both the philosophical and methodological issues surrounding the search for true artificial intelligence. Will computers and robots ever think and communicate the way humans do? When a computer crosses the threshold into self-consciousness, will it immediately jump into the Internet and create a World Mind? Will intelligent computers someday recognize the rather doubtful intelligence of human beings? Distinguished psychologists, computer scientists, philosophers, and programmers from around the world debate these weighty issues and, in effect, the future of the human race in this important volume.
This book is about what will probably be humankind’s most impressive – and perhaps final – achievement: the creation of an entity whose intelligence equals or exceeds our own.
Not all will agree, but I for one have no doubt that this landmark will be achieved in the fairly near future. Nearly four decades ago, when I had the odd experience of being able to interact over a teletype with one of the first conversational computer programs – Joseph Weizenbaum’s “ELIZA” – I would have conjectured that truly intelligent machines were just around the corner. I was wrong. In fact, by some measures, conversational computer programs have made relatively little progress since ELIZA. But they are coming nonetheless, by one means or another, and because of advances in a number of computer-related technologies – most especially the creation of the Internet – their impact on the human race will be far greater and more immediate than anyone could have foreseen a few decades ago.