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Electronic Elasticity

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Turing Test.

Read up on the philosophical question: "Can Machines Think?", this morning. Even did a little reading on self-adapting computers. There is a lot of Wired inspired buzz about the coming advent of intelligent code and adaptive hardware. But Im not so sure it is that easy. There are a few logical problems in the way, that even an incredibly ignorant arse like myself can see:
  • To program an adaptive and "thinking" segment of code, you would need to not only declare variables that the user inputed and constants for the computer, but you would also need variables for three other categories: the result of human/computer relation (not new), variables gathered from outside or inside stimulus that could become constants, and variables that responded to changes in any of the other sets of variables. And that is just to write a program that knows what to respond with by accepting what you type into a text prompt.
  • The constant/variable construction of "brain-dead" code is set in stone. It knows how many numbers it needs, and that amount stays the same. Even computers saving vast amounts of information still know how much they will have, that magical maximum amount that can be used as a constant in programming.
    "Intelligent" code would not have that luxury. It would have to continuously declare new variables and delete old ones on a scale currently unprecedented. To put it in perspective, the human brain intuitively declares millions of "variables" (stimuli) each minute, and examines each with a capacity still unmatched by computers. If closely examined, the computer declaration process would be very similar to what we call rudimentary "learning".
  • So the big issue is this: What standard do you hold an artificially intelligent entity to? They will have a better memory than you. Their "right-brain" will be immensely bigger than yours. But that will be about it, and I suspect code-monkeys know it. You cant really program a computer to compose original poetry that will make any sense whatsoever.



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