Monday, June 9, 2014

The next step

In 1950, Alan Turing, a British pioneer in the field of computer science, published a paper that said machines would be indistinguishable from humans when it was 'thinking'. Since that time, the paper known as the Turing test, took on several forms as computers evolved into mainstream society today.
The question arises: Do computers think? When is a machine self aware. Not only sentient, but sapient.
At the University of Reading a computer program successfully imitated a 13 year old boy. It did this by engaging in a 5 minute keyboard conversation (read: chat/ text message.) with a set of human judges.
33% of them thought the program was an actual human being.
Mark this date my friends. Artificial Intelligence became that much closer to reality.
The first question I have is this:
Is it real intelligence or simulated intelligence? Very soon I believe the answer may be a moot point.
So my next question:
How will we treat this new form of intelligence?
I had to erase what I was going to write because my definition would have been wrong.
As much as I want it to be, it won't be a new life form. To be considered sentient as well as sapient, three criteria must be met.
  1.  It must be self aware as well as aware of it's surroundings
  2.  It must able to reproduce
  3. It must be able to take energy from it's surroundings and convert it into sustainable energy
 People argue that the organism must have DNA in order for it to be alive. That may be true for biological organisms, but not artificial life.
I'm keeping an open mind. As we push the envelope of human understanding, it is my hope we understand ourselves better.

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