“The Brain’s Last Stand.”
What Deep Blue Tells Us About AI in 2017
Steven Levy
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Turing Test from the computer’s viewpoint

While this phrase postures euphemistic pride at the loss of humanity’s intellectual sovereignty, that epic contest was actually lost very long ago — possibly with the Jacquard loom. Human hubris still envisions the Turing Test only from the human viewpoint. What would such a test look like if constructed by a computer to determine if a human could “possibly” be as smart as a computer?

Here is an excerpt from my novel Liars! where such a contest occurs. The human is behind screen #1; the computer, of course, behind screen #2:

Judge: ‘Ok contestants. Please name the largest river in the U.S.’

Screen #1: Mississippi. ‘Correct.’ Screen #2: Mississippi. ‘Correct.

Question 2, in ten seconds, name some other rivers in the U.S.’

Screen #1: Hudson and Ohio. ‘Correct.’

Screen #2: The U.S. has over 250,000 rivers. Rivers starting with the letter A: Abbott Run — Massachusetts, Rhode Island; Abita River — Louisiana; Ahnapee River — Wisconsin; Alabama River — Alabama; Alafia River — Florida; Alagnak River — Alaska; Alamo River — California; Alapaha River — Georgia, Florida; Alatna River — Alaska; Albion River — California; Alcovy River — Georgia; Allagash River — Maine; Allegheny River — Pennsylvania, New York; Alsea River — Oregon; …

OK #2, please don’t show off. Ladies and gentlemen of the press. It is obvious that behind screen #2 is the human. Because, as we all know, a computer could never be smarter than a human.”