Who's afraid of the Turing test?

Behavior and Philosophy 20 (2):63-74 (1993)
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The Turing Test is a verbal-behavioral operational criterion of artificial intelligence. If a machine can participate in question–and–answer conversation adequately enough to deceive an intelligent interlocutor, then it has intelligent information processing abilities. Robert M. French has argued that recent discoveries in cognitive science about subcognitive processes involving associational primings prove that the Turing Test cannot provide a satisfactory criterion of machine intelligence, that Turing's prediction concerning the feasibility of building machines to play the imitation game successfully is false, and that the test should be rejected as ethnocentric and incapable of measuring kinds and degrees of nonhuman intelligence. But French's criticism is flawed, because it requires Turing's sufficient conditional criterion of intelligence to serve as a necessary condition. Turing's Test is defended against these objections, and French's claim that the test ought to be rejected because machines cannot pass it is deemed unscientific, resting on the empirically unwarranted assumption that intelligent machines are possible



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