Throughout his paper, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, Alan Turing explains
his test for intelligence; the Turing Test.
Turing proposes that if a machine can pass his Turing
Test, then the machine is unquestionably an intelligent, appropriately sophisticated Physical
However, John Searle presents an intriguing criticism, the Chinese Room
example, to the Turing Test in “Minds, Brains, and Computers.”
Searle’s example has serious
implications on Turing’s test and even raises questions of its validity.
The Turing Test, also known as the “imitation game”, involves one human, one non-
human machine, and one interrogator, a human.
All three are in separate rooms and
communicate via teleprinter.
The interrogator asks both the machine and human questions in a
question-answer format in an attempt to figure out which is the human.
The questions can be
phrased in any form, about any topic, and can be as sophisticated or simple as the interrogator
If the interrogator can’t accurately decide which one is human, then the machine has
successfully passed the Turing Test and is attributed intelligence in the same way human beings
are attributed intelligence.
Turing restricts the machines in the test to digital computers, claiming digital computers
are the closest to “thinking machines”.
A digital computer, or universal computer, is a
hypothetical super computer capable of any task of any human programmed computer.
computers are sophisticated Physical Symbol Systems (PSS); they manipulate syntactical, not
semantical, properties of symbols.
The computer has a strict set of rules programmed into it, like
a book of rules, and an executive unit where the program is carried out and all symbol
Because of the digital computer’s programmed nature, we know how the
machine works and will understand how it is intelligent.
Turing creates this restriction because it
may be possible for a machine to pass the test, but whose way of passing is unknown.