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Public Version of REL 161 Religion in the New Media

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The Turing Test

The Turing Test is a test proposed by Alan Turing (1912-1954), an English mathematician who is often considered to be the father of modern and theoretical computer science as well as artificial intelligence. The test is supposed to determine if a computer/AI is capable of “thinking,” which is equivocated to if the computer should be called “sentient.” He determined that a computer deserves the label “sentient” if and only if “it acts, reacts, and interacts like a sentient being” (). Since that definition of sentience is incredibly subjective, Turing proposed that the ultimate test might be as follows: If a human interrogator cannot distinguish a computer from a human subject in a fixed time frame after virtually questioning them in a series of tests, then the computer’s ability to “think” can be measured. This test, which Turing dubbed “the imitation game” but which has become known as the Turing Test, is commonly used in AI development as a milestone to determine if the AI is capable of thought/life; the success rate of the test has not yet reached a statistically significant level to indicate an inability to identify the machine. Thus, members of the field have determined that, at this point in time, AI are unable to successfully imitate humans.

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