Sunlit Water

September 30, 2006

I’m No Computer Scientist

Filed under: Language — by teofilo @ 1:42 am

But this is wrong, isn’t it?



  1. I’m having much fun imagining a Turing test where the two participants are Eliza and Ben Wolfson.

    Comment by Becks — September 30, 2006 @ 1:09 pm |Reply

  2. “The one seems to make remarkably predictable responses to everything I say, and the other keeps making non sequitors about music I’ve never heard of. Screw it, they’re both computers.”

    (Actually, I don’t recall the Turing test working like that, where the tester has to guess which of two participants is human. I believe the classic Turing test is just a human and a computer, and the computer has to fool the human into thinking it’s a human, too.)

    Comment by mrh — October 1, 2006 @ 8:38 pm |Reply

  3. It’s spelled “non sequitur”. Remember, the passive voice endings for the present, imperfect, and future tenses are r/ris/tur//mur/mini/ntur (that’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd person, singular and plural).

    Comment by ben wolfson — October 4, 2006 @ 12:00 am |Reply

  4. Yeah, the comic is pretty terribly wrong. The problem with Turing tests is that people are stupid, not that the test is mathematically flawed. T. Rex’s plan is theoretically valid, but practically impossible to implement. You end up with more conversation branches than there are atoms in the universe surprisingly quickly. I think that Hofstadter covers this in one of the earlier chapters of Godel, Escher, Bach.

    With that said, you can of course fake it pretty well using more complicated algorithms, and there have been plenty of chatbots that can pass an informal Turing test. One administered by someone who knows what they’re doing and what sort of questions are likely to confound a computer? Not so much.

    Anyway, the Turing test isn’t really considered a serious benchmark anymore. It’s just sort of a nice idea.

    Comment by tom — October 4, 2006 @ 11:27 am |Reply

  5. Thanks, tom. That’s pretty much what I was thinking.

    Comment by teofilo — October 4, 2006 @ 4:32 pm |Reply

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