Thinking like a machine (part 2 of 3)

In our previous post, we mentioned John Danaher’s excellent review of Brett Frischmann’s 2014 paper exploring the possibility of a Reverse Turing Test. One of the insightful contributions Frischmann makes to this voluminous literature is his idea of a Turing Line, or the fuzzy line that separates humans from machines. According to Frischmann, this line serves two essential functions: (1) it differentiates humans from machines (and machines from humans, we would add), and (2) it demarcates a “finish line” or goal. In other words, for a machine to pass Turing’s original test, it must be able to cross this imaginary line by deceiving us that it is human. Most of the literature in this area focuses on the human side of the line: will a machine ever be capable of crossing this boundary? Frischmann, however, focuses on the machine side of the line. (In the words of Danaher: “Instead of thinking about the properties or attributes that are distinctively human, [Frischmann is] thinking about the properties and attributes that are distinctly machine-like.”) In particular, Frischmann poses a different and far more original question: will a human ever be able to deceive another person (or another machine) that he or she is a machine? But what does it mean to “think like a machine”? We shall discuss that difficult question in our next post …

Credit: Brett Frischmann (via John Danaher)

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
This entry was posted in Bayesian Reasoning, Philosophy, Science. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Thinking like a machine (part 2 of 3)

  1. Craig says:

    It is almost always instructive to put the shoe on the other foot, as it were, and see how it feels. Inversions are a great and under-appreciated educational tool.

  2. jecgenovese says:

    I think there have been a few cases of human mental calculators beating computers, although it may be that the the computers were simply delayed by the time it takes a human to enter the problem.

    • Indeed, I remember watching on 60 Minutes years ago about children who could perform difficult mathematical calculations without the help of a calculator … Those kids would presumably pass Frischmann’s reverse Turing Test. And as I ponder this test more, I would add a fifth criterion to Frischmann’s list: storage capacity for memory.

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