Once again, be sure you have read and understood the instructions. If you have any question, please don't hesitate to ask via GroupMe or by email to berkich@gmail.com.

Note that this essay is worth a whopping 275 points. Since the question here is somewhat more involved, the range of number of words on this essay (and this essay only!) is extended from 500-750 to 500-1000. I will be looking for clear, well-written, and thoughtful explanations.

Is the Turing Test Too Weak?

Recall that the Turing Test is predicated on the proposition that

The perfect imitation of intelligence is intelligence.

The trouble, as the otherwise odious Nathan correctly points out in the film “Ex Machina”, is proving artificial intelligence. Caleb describes this as the 'chess challenge': Does the chess-playing computer know that it is playing chess? Analogously, does Ava know it has bested Nathan at his own game? Proving AI is challenging indeed!

We have considered two important reasons for thinking that Ava is a false positive:

  • The Chinese Room Thought Experiment: Ava behaves as if she understands, holding conversations and interacting with people as if she does. But as Searle's Chinese Room Thought Experiment demonstrates, she mimics understanding (perhaps perfectly) without actually understanding, just as Searle-in-the-room can pass the Turing Test in Chinese without understanding Chinese in the slightest. Thus Ava can pass the Turing Test without understanding she's passed the test or even grasped that she is taking a test.
  • The Case of Mary: Ava behaves as if she is fully aware of her surroundings, carefully choosing clothes to wear, drawing drawings to (it seems) impress Caleb, and seeking to people-watch on a busy street corner. Thus Ava seems intelligent in part because she gives all the behavioral evidence of enjoying subjective experience (having pains, pleasures, conscious awareness of her immediate environment, feelings for Caleb, etc.) There is, it seems, something it is like to be Ava, and Nathan has figured out how to program her so there is, but how? If, as we learn from the Case of Mary, it is possible to know all the physical facts about color and color sensation without knowing what it is like to see the color red, for instance, then what it is like to see the color red is not a physical fact for Ava--or us, for that matter. Thus Ava can pass the Turing Test without there being anything whatsoever it is like to be Ava. She can express having feelings, thoughts, and experiences in passing the test without actually having any feelings, thoughts, or experiences.

In this essay, explain 1) the Turing Test for Artificial Intelligence as Turing originally conceived it, 2) the Chinese Room Thought Experiment as an argument that the Turing Test is too weak, and 3) the Case of Mary as an argument (again) that the Turing Test is too weak. Let us further stipulate that your explanations must be sufficiently clear, concise, and well-written that anyone not in the class would be able to follow them. You might even go so far as to invite a friend not in the class to read the essay to see how well they follow your explanations. Note that this is more challenging than it may seem. Writing for someone brand new to these concepts is never easy. You would do well to sprinkle your explanations with lots of well-chosen examples so as to make it concrete for the reader. Further, it helps to understand the motivation in each case. Why use the Turing Test, for example, and not just a standard IQ test? What point is Searle trying to make with the Chinese Room Thought Experiment? Why is it a Chinese room in particular? Why is the Case of Mary so troubling, not just for the Turing Test, but for we ourselves as well?

Finally, put it all together: In light of your review, is the perfect imitation of intelligence intelligence? Justify your answer.