Reply to Club Topic #4: Turing Test and Chinese Room experiment

The biggest contribution of Alan Turing to computer science is the Turing test, or the Imitation Game. Turing test is an algorithmic method to figure out if a system is artificially-intelligent. In other words, Turing test has given the definition of real AI.

Alan Turing’s idea was to find out if humans can be ‘fooled’. Computer programs, probably an AI-program will pretend itself to be a real human. Then humans and computers will ask questions to find out if the software is a human or not. In the test, at least 30% of human should be fooled, but any of current programs hasn’t passed the Turing test.

The real AI, should pass this step, and also need to pass the second step. They should communicate by human senses; they needs to hear and talk to people by voice, and recognize meanings from gestures and tones. Siri is partially able to do this, but still far to pass both tests.

Turing test was criticized by some of the computer scientists, such as John Searle. He suggested a “Chinese Room” thought experiment.

A man who can’t speak Chinese at all, is sitting in an opaque box with an Chinese book, with questions and their proper answers. Someone writes a question in Chinese and give it to the man. Then the man will respond to the question as the book says. If there are enough question-response sets, this room can pass Turing test.

This experiment has contributed in clarifying the definition of AI. In this case, the man, who is answering the question is not understanding Chinese. but the system including him and the book he is holding is understanding.

After the Chinese Room experiment, Turing test defined AI, as  “human-like systems, regardless of each components of the system understanding the whole information”. The man inside the room, who is not understanding Chinese does not affect whether the room is AI.

The ultimate goal of AI technology, the brain is actually also a system. We think by the result of brain thinking, but we don’t actually know what information passes through a single synapse or a neuron every time. We, a part of the system do not understand other parts, neurons, but we are considered an intelligent system.

Chinese Room experiment was originally devised to falsify Turing test, but it has contributed to clarify the definition of Artificial Intelligence. However the definition is still unclear, and science still has a lot of work to create an artificially intelligent technology.



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