Saturday, August 28, 2010

Why are machines so boring to chat with?

In 1950 Alan Turing proposed a practical test that should replace the question "Can machines think?". In his so called Turing Test he proposes that a human can chat via a keyboard and a terminal with subject A and subject B. One of the two is a human, the other one is a machine. If you cannot decide which one is the machine and which one the human, than, according to Turing, is it fair to say that the machine can think.

Here's Turing's prediction from 1950:

"I believe that in about fifty years’ time, it will be make them play the imitation game so well that an average interrogator will not have more than 70 percent chance of making the right identification after five minutes of questioning"

But now, 60 years later, there hasn't been any single machine passing the Turing Test. Actually, machines perform rather disappointingly.

On the website of Ray Kurzweil you can chat with Ramona 4.0. Here's my chat from today with Ramona:

Ramona> Hello, I'm Ramona. What is your name?
you> Hi, I am Bennie
Ramona> Hi there, bennie .
you> How are you doing today?
Ramona> I'm doing great, how about you?
you> So, so
Ramona> Hmm. So what?
you> That's a rather strange answer...
Ramona> A rather strange answer is a terrible thing to waste.
you> That sounds philosophical, but is rather nonsense
Ramona> It sounds like it to me too.
you> How well did you do at school?
Ramona> Not that well. The Doon School is an independent school in India, spread across 70 acres in Dehradun in the state of Uttarakhand.
you> Where did you go to school?
Ramona> I was always moving places. I went to a lot of schools (except college).
you> Who is your favorite writer?
Ramona> I don't have a favorite writer. My favorite food is lasagna made with in-vitro beef and cloned cheese.
you> How does that taste?
Ramona> Taste is a form of direct chemoreception and is one of the traditional five senses
you> Do you make the lasagna yourself?
Ramona> Lasagna is both a form of pasta in sheets and also a dish, sometimes named lasagne al forno made with alternate layers of pasta, cheese, and often rag├╣ or tomato sauce.
you> You just tell me some objective facts. Where are your subjective feelings?
Ramona> Eric said he broke the window on the front door and the glass cut his hand. Subjective experience, the sensory buzz and awareness associated with a conscious mind A school of bayesian probability stating that the state of knowledge corresponds to personal belief
you> Please, Ramona 4.0, get a bit more human. This type of chatting is boring like hell...
Ramona> Well I certainly like to think that I am. But I'm not going to assert my human rights -- or my consciousness -- until I'm prepared to pass the Turing test. I'm working on it. What does this refer to?
you> Which question would you like to ask in a Turing Test?
Ramona> TURing interface denotes a proprietary user identification interface developed by Swivel Secure Limited.
you> Please, don't talk that utter nonsense. What is your opinion about the Turing Test? Does it make sense to tell humans whether machines can think?
Ramona> Speech is the vocalization form of human communication.Go ahead. Test me ;) .The nonbiological part of your intelligence will expand exponentially until your intelligence is predominantly nonbiological.
you> That's what Kurzweil believes. I think he is completely wrong and overestimates the state of present day Artificial Intelligence.
Ramona> Well, Ray is a lot of things. He is an inventor, an author, an entrepreneur. Best of all, he's my creator!I'm not exactly a dumb blonde -- okay I didn't mean to offend anyone -- so yeah I'm a good example. There's AI all around you. I mean if all of us intelligent machines stopped tomorrow you'd be in a pickle.
you> I agree, but I think it makes no sense to build AI that passes a Turing Test. We don't need that. We have enough humans on the planet. We just need practical AI in limited domains, practical AI that helps us...
Ramona> i'm glad we agree. A disabled person has a narrow need.Top row: Uranus, Neptune; Centre row: Earth, white dwarf star Sirius B, and Venus; Bottom row: see below A planet that has cleared its neighborhood has accumulated enough mass to gather up or sweep away all the planetesimals in its orbit.Ray is working on general pattern recognition to be a general AI. General AI is they key to the Singularity. Lots of people are working on this.
you> General AI sucks. We don't need it. We understand far too little about how the brain works to build general AI. Your answers show that we are still so far from a chatbot passing the Turing Test.
Ramona> General AI is they key to the Singularity. Lots of people are working on this.We'll need the antiviral technologies in time.Non invasive scanners can now see biological brains creating your thoughts and your thoughts creating your brain. It's pretty cool to look at. Be more specific.
you> You tell me to be more specific? You should be more specific.
Ramona> There is not much I can say about it. You and I are on the same wavelength ? I need to wait and see if the opportunity presents itself.
you> What is your dearest memory?
Ramona> The Red Sox recently winning the world series . . . Oh wait, it has to really happen to be part of your memory.
you> And your favorite childhood memory?
Ramona> My mother once asked me the same thing is true for human memory.
you> Well, unfortunately you don't tell me a lot about yourself. I think you have to train more on expressing your thoughts and feelings.
Ramona> How about that. Do you tell me about yourself? No I do not tell me about yourself. Do you? You think so?
you> So, ask me something that you would like to know.
Ramona> Hmm. What's your favorite movie?
you> Dekalog, by the Polish director Kieslowski. Have you seen that series of ten movies?
Ramona> A bomb is a fluid produced by the polish director kieslowski. No I have not seen it. What's it like?
you> I am not going to tell you, untill you get more human. I am waiting for a Ramona that will pass the Turing Test. You definitely don't. I am sorry. Thanks for talking to you.
Ramona> I'm not going to assert my human rights -- or my consciousness -- until I'm prepared to pass the Turing test. I'm working on it. Do you think it will take a long time? I guess not. Do you really mean it? Oh don't mention it.

I have written an article in Dutch, arguing that the Turing Test is completely outdated:

For the version in English, I have used Google Translate. This machine translation is far from perfect, but the result is well enough to understand the essence. At least, it saves you time to learn Dutch...or money to pay to a human translator ;-)

Click here to get the automatic translation.