Turing Test and Female Hormones

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On 16.01.2012 10:24 Bruno Marchal said the following:

> Note also that Turing invented his test to avoid the philosophical
> hard issue of consciousness. In a nutshell Turing defines
> “consciousness” by “having an intelligent behavior”. The Turing test
> is equivalent with a type of “no zombie” principle.

On 16.01.2012 11:20 Bruno Marchal said the following:
> On 15 Jan 2012, at 09:13, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:
>> What about the Turing test for a person in that state to check if
>> he still has consciousness?
> As I said in another post, the very idea of the Turing test consists
> in avoiding completely the notion of consciousness. I do disagree
> with Turing on this. We can build a theory of consciousness,
> including, like with comp, a theory having refutable consequences.
> Turing was still influenced by Vienna-like positivism.

Bruno, below there are quotes from Jaron Lanier on Turing Test from his book You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, 2010 (http://www.jaronlanier.com/)

From the chapter The Apple Falls Again.

“The second thing to know about Turing is that he was gay at a time when it was illegal to be gay. British authorities, thinking they were doing the most compassionate thing, coerced him into a quack medical treatment that was supposed to correct his homosexuality. It consisted, bizarrely, of massive infusions of female hormones.”

“In order to understand how someone could have come up with that plan, you have to remember that before computers came along, the steam engine was a preferred metaphor for understanding human nature. All that sexual pressure was building up and causing the machine to malfunction, so the opposite essence, the female kind, ought to balance it out and reduce the pressure. This story should serve as a cautionary tale. The common use of computers, as we understand them today, as sources for models and metaphors of ourselves is probably about as reliable as the use of the steam engine was back then.”

“Turing developed breasts and other female characteristics and became terribly depressed. He committed suicide by lacing an apple with cyanide in his lab and eating it. Shortly before his death, he presented the world with a spiritual idea, which must be evaluated separately from his technical achievements. This is the famous Turing test. It is extremely rare for a genuinely new spiritual idea to appear, and it is yet another example of Turing‟s genius that he came up with one.”

“Turing presented his new offering in the form of a thought experiment, based on a popular Victorian parlor game. A man and a woman hide, and a judge is asked to determine which is which by relying only on the texts of notes passed back and forth.”

“Turing replaced the woman with a computer. Can the judge tell which is the man? If not, is the computer conscious? Intelligent? Does it deserve equal rights?”

“It‟s impossible for us to know what role the torture Turing was enduring at the time played in his formulation of the test. But it is undeniable that one of the key figures in the defeat of fascism was destroyed, by our side, after the war, because he was gay. No wonder his imagination pondered the rights of strange creatures.”

“When Turing died, software was still in such an early state that no one knew what a mess it would inevitably become as it grew. Turing imagined a pristine, crystalline form of existence in the digital realm, and I can imagine it might have been a comfort to imagine a form of life apart from the torments of the body and the politics of sexuality. It’s notable that it is the woman who is replaced by the computer, and that Turing’s suicide echoes Eve’s fall”.

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