Another Delicious Nugget

It seems likely that the contributions of human operators and equipment will blend together so completely in many operations that it will be difficult to separate them neatly in analysis. That would be the case it; in gathering data on which to base a decision, for example, both the man and the computer came up with relevant precedents from experience and if the computer then suggested a course of action that agreed with the man’s intuitive judgment. (In theorem-proving programs, computers find precedents in experience, and in the SAGE System, they suggest courses of action. The foregoing is not a far-fetched example. ) In other operations, however, the contributions of men and equipment will be to some extent separable.

Again I am going to quote a paragraph and focus on a sentence. I immediately thought of the Turing test when reading this passage.  For those unfamiliar, the Turing test is given to computers by humans in order to determine its capabilities of intelligence.  Basically, the human asks the computer questions and holds a conversation with the computer.  If the human can not tell for certain whether he is speaking to a machine or another human then the machine has passed.  Perhaps you have even performed a Turing test as a child without even realizing it.  Does anyone remember Cleverbot? As children we would always try to trip Cleverbot up and corner “him”. Looking back I realize we were performing our own sort of Turing Test because we needed to confirm it was, in fact, a computer.   The following conversation was posted in a press release by the people of Cleverbot:

Cleverbot: Do you know what a Turing Test is?

User: No.

Cleverbot: A test given to AI, such as yourself, determining whether or not they can uphold a human conversation.

User: What is AI?

Cleverbot: Artificial intelligence. That’s what you are.

User: No, I’m a human.

Cleverbot: But you’re not a human. You’re a computer.

User: No, I was joking with you to find out if it was a real person…

Another article published by the people of Cleverbot here excitedly announces that the program has almost passed the Turing Test.  This was judged by comparing the human-ness of responses from the program and people alike.

What is so interesting about Cleverbot is that it only gets so clever because people choose to interact with it.  Every conversation you have with Cleverbot gets stored in its database and used as reference for future conversations.  He literally gets smarter as you converse with him. Therefore the more we test him the closer he will get to passing.


Aside from being Jamie’s   ‘ducking’ comment (we all know that feeling), she also brings up a very good point about the limits of artificial intelligence.  What we judge as “intelligence” is really just good programming, but at least not for the foreseeable future, a computer will never be an intuitive body.

George similarly analyzes that idea, commenting that Licklider missed a key concept in his theory: Who will answer “WHY”?
George argues that while the computer can analyze an equation faster than any human it can not interpret that equation or explain why it exists.  I would argue to George that perhaps what Licklider meant (and if not then how I would personally retort) is that these computers will be used to take up “simple” brain functions to free the human mind up to tackle these questions.   Some people argue that computers are making people stupider because they can do so much, I would counter that they allow man to elevate to a higher level of thinking.  We can worry about the complex because the mundane is taken care of.

I will admit that I can not so neatly tie Tiffani’s post into my own analysis, but I have to mention it because of how well her post is done.   She compares men to machines, doing monotonous tasks, rebooting every night, and remodeling after injury.  It is a very interesting way to think of man, but what really drives the point home is her perfect use of image and text.  She was able to accent every idea with a perfectly accompanied image.



  1. Pingback: “Man-Computer Symbiosis” Nugget | UNIV 200

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