What should replace the Turing Test? A commentary by Johnson-Laird and Ragni

Phil Johnson-Laird and Marco Ragni note in a new commentary published in Intelligent Computing that the Turing test, whose aim was to establish whether machines can think, is now obsolete: modern chatbots and AI tools can pass the test, and yet these systems cannot think. Hence, a suitable replacement for the test is needed. The authors argue that the following process can help establish whether a machine can think:

  1. First, test the machine against problems given to people in psychological experiments about reasoning.
  2. Second, test the machine’s introspective understanding of its reasoning process.
  3. Third, study the source code of the program for requisite capacities and processes that underlie human reasoning performance.

The authors go into more depth on this idea in their paper, whose abstract is available here:

Today, chatbots and other artificial intelligence tools pass the Turing test, which was Turing’s alternative to trying to answer the question: can a machine think? Despite their success in passing the Turing test, these machines do not think. We therefore propose a test of a more focused question: does a program reason in the way that humans reason? This test treats an “intelligent” program as though it were a participant in a psychological study and has 3 steps: (a) test the program in a set of experiments examining its inferences, (b) test its understanding of its own way of reasoning, and (c) examine, if possible, the cognitive adequacy of the source code for the program.

You can download the paper here.

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