Does the Turing Test Demonstrate Intelligence or Not?

Stuart M. Shieber

The Turing Test has served as a defining inspiration throughout the early history of artificial intelligence research. Its centrality arises in part because verbal behavior indistinguishable from that of humans seems like an incontrovertible criterion for intelligence, a "philosophical conversation stopper" as Dennett says. On the other hand, from the moment Turing's seminal Mind article was published, the conversation hasn't stopped; the appropriateness of the Test has been continually questioned, and current philosophical wisdom holds that the Turing Test is hopelessly flawed as a sufficient condition for attributing intelligence. In this short article, I summarize for an artificial intelligence audience an argument that I have presented at length for a philosophical audience that attempts to reconcile these two mutually contradictory but well-founded attitudes towards the Turing Test that have been under constant debate since 1950.

Subjects: 9.4 Philosophical Foundations

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