Laws of Form and the Force of Function: Variations on the Turing Test

In Vincent C. Müller & Aladdin Ayesh (eds.), Revisiting Turing and His Test: Comprehensiveness, Qualia, and the Real World. AISB. pp. 60-64 (2012)
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This paper commences from the critical observation that the Turing Test (TT) might not be best read as providing a definition or a genuine test of intelligence by proxy of a simulation of conversational behaviour. Firstly, the idea of a machine producing likenesses of this kind served a different purpose in Turing, namely providing a demonstrative simulation to elucidate the force and scope of his computational method, whose primary theoretical import lies within the realm of mathematics rather than cognitive modelling. Secondly, it is argued that a certain bias in Turing’s computational reasoning towards formalism and methodological individualism contributed to systematically unwarranted interpretations of the role of the TT as a simulation of cognitive processes. On the basis of the conceptual distinction in biology between structural homology vs. functional analogy, a view towards alternate versions of the TT is presented that could function as investigative simulations into the emergence of communicative patterns oriented towards shared goals. Unlike the original TT, the purpose of these alternate versions would be co-ordinative rather than deceptive. On this level, genuine functional analogies between human and machine behaviour could arise in quasi-evolutionary fashion.
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