There are several elements that Turing brings up briefly that I believe would benefit from further discussing. In section 4 he expresses that it is unnecessary to solve the mysteries of consciousness to solve the “can machines think?” question. This implies that consciousness it its entirety is not required to be able to think. He separates the two faculties, but I am not sure what he would consider to be the dividing difference between thinking and consciousness. It was previously discussed in class that thinking is cognizing is consciousness, but it seems as though Turing would disagree with this statement. Unfortunately he does not elaborate on this argument.He also addresses discounting a machine’s ability to think whenever the digital machine makes an error “prov[ing] a disability of machines to which the human intellect is not subject”. Yet, humans make many errors all the time, and computers can trump many things that we cannot do (eg arithmetic). He uses the the human need for superiority as an explanation for an unreasonable expectation that for a machine to think to the same level of sophistication as a human mind can, it must be able to match all human skills. This reminds us that asking whether a machine can think is not asking whether a machine can think “like a human”, and that different thinking can still be a sophisticated and sufficiently complex type of thinking.
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“The game may perhaps be criticised on the ground that the odds are weighted too heavily against the machine. If the man were to try and pretend to be the machine he would clearly make a very poor showing. He would be given away at once by slowness and inaccuracy in arithmetic. May not machines carry out something which ought to be described as thinking but which is very different from what a man does? This objection is a very strong one, but at least we can say that if, nevertheless, a machine can be constructed to play the imitation game satisfactorily, we need not be troubled by this objection.” So a computer can imitate a man but a man cannot imitate a computer? At least without the help of a computer. “He would be given away at once by the slowness and inaccuracy in arithmetic.” If the interrogator simply asks the right question the lacking ability of man will be clear. However, we are not really trying to test the man to be a machine. So what questions trip a computer and not a man? How about about a question of emotion? Can a machine mimic the emotion of a man? If the interrogator asks, for example, what makes the player angry, would a computer be able to compose a convincing answer? Questions without explicitly ‘right’ answers but that have deeper meaning I believe would expose the computer. Computation only takes into account shape, not meaning. I think there is also a question of even if the computer can mimic these emotional responses or feelings, it is still mimicry, not feeling.
On the Head in the Sand objection: “The consequences of machines thinking would be too dreadful. Let us hope and believe that they cannot do so."It’s amazing to me how people are still so adamant about this one. After the some greatest tech pioneers of our generation (Elon Musk and others) are calling for regulation of AI, I find it silly that people still disregard the risks. Especially since the technology is bound to develop much faster than any legislation possibly could. So prescient, Mr. Turing!