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Re: Is the Turing Test "Brain Dead" Too?
by Rob Hoogers on Saturday September 27, @09:38AM
Turing *did* specify some behaviours:


After 1947 Turing continued to a wider and more constructive discussion of how machines might perform apparently non-mechanical tasks: how completely unintelligent micro-operations might add up to intelligent processes. It was presented in an internal report 'Intelligent Machinery' for the National Physical Laboratory (Turing 1948). This was not published (until 1968), but was in many ways the basis of his better-known and less technical 1950 exposition. One interesting feature of this 1948 report is the evidence it gives of a wartime inspiration for his new ideas. Turing referred to images of the writer Dorothy Sayers, to illustrate the commonly accepted meaning of 'mechanical' behaviour. The book he quoted was one he was reading at Bletchley Park in 1941. Turing also tellingly described 1940 as the date after which machines were no longer restricted to 'extremely straightforward, possibly even to repetitious, jobs.' He must have had his own Enigma-breaking Bombe, and other highly sophisticated codebreaking operations, in mind.

In this report, Turing characterised intelligence as requiring 'discipline', which he identified with the programmability of a universal machine, plus a residue of 'initiative.' Initiative now played the role that 'intuition' had done in 1938: mental actions apparently going beyond the scope of a 'definite method'. How was initiative to be found within the scope of computable operations, and so implemented on a computer?

Turing suggested various possibilities all based on imitating human brains: learning, teaching, training, searching. From the outset of his design work in 1945, Turing had been enthusiastic for exploiting the feature of a stored-program computer that a program can be manipulated in the same was as data. These ideas took his enthusiasm further, by having the machine actively modify its own programs. Turing emphasised that at a more fundamental level the concept of 'a machine changing its own instructions' was 'really a nonsensical form of phraseology', but it was convenient. The upshot of his argument was that by one means or another, and probably using many methods in combination, a computer could be made to imitate the mental functions of human brains.

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