“The Brain’s Last Stand.”
What Deep Blue Tells Us About AI in 2017
Steven Levy

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.”