Researchers argue AI can fool the Turing test without saying a thing

nestor ai paying attention artificial intelligence
Alleged criminals might not be the only ones to benefit from pleading the Fifth. By falling silent during the Turing test, artificial intelligence (AI) systems can fool human judges into believing they’re human, according to a study by machine intelligence researchers from Coventry University.

Alan Turing, considered the father of theoretical computer science and AI, devised the Turing test in an attempt to outline what it means for a thing to think. In the test, a human judge or interrogator has a conversation with an unseen entity, which might be a human or a machine. The test posits that the machine can be considered to be “thinking” or “intelligent” if the interrogator is unable to tell whether or not the machine is a human.

Also known as the imitation game, the test has become an often-erroneous standard to determine if AI have qualities like intellect, active thought, and even consciousness.

In the study, Taking the Fifth Amendment in Turing’s Imitation Game, published in the Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence by Dr. Huma Shah and Dr. Kevin Warwick of Coventry University, the researchers analyzed six transcripts from prior Turing tests and determined that, when the machines fell silent, the judges were left undecided about their interlocutor’s humanness. The silence doesn’t even need to be intentional. In fact, it tended to result from technical difficulties.

“The idea [for the study] came from technical issues with a couple of the computer programs in Turing test experiments,” Shah tells Digital Trends. “The technical issues entailed the failure of the computer programs to relay messages or responses to the judge’s questions. The judges were unaware of the situation and hence in some cases they classified their hidden interlocutor as ‘unsure.’”

The silent machines may have baffled their judges, but their silence helped expose a flaw in the exam rather than confirm its utility, which Warwick says this raises serious questions regarding the Turing tests validity and ability to test thinking systems. “We need a much more rigorous and all encompassing test to do so, even if we are considering a machine’s way of thinking to be different to that of a human,” he tells Digital Trends.

Shah meanwhile notes that the test was designed to give a framework within which to “build elaborate machines to respond in a satisfactory and sustained manner,” not to build machines that simply trick judges. In short, the systems are meant to imitate human conversation and no human who takes the test seriously would fall silent. Right?

Well, they might, thinks Warwick. “One thing that I have learnt from such tests is that hidden human entities will almost surely do unexpected and illogical things,” he says. “In this case a human could easily get upset or annoyed by something a judge has said and decide not to reply — they are human after all.”

An alternative view is that the Turing test has already been undermined by the current state of AI. Shah says she agrees with Microsoft’s Chief Envisaging Officer in the UK, Dave Coplin, who thinks the “machine vs. human” challenges are no longer relevant. At the AI summit in London in May, Coplin pointed out that, given enough resources, at the rate AI is advancing, developing an intelligent machine doesn’t seem all that farfetched.

“The role of AI is to augment human performance with intelligent agents,” Shah says. “For example, a human educator using an AI to score student assignments and exam questions leaving the teacher time to innovate learning, inspiring students, encouraging more into STEM, including females, for a better life or world of cooperation.”

From this perspective, it’s absurd to develop an AI whose sole goal is to fool a human into thinking it’s human — especially if the simplest way to do so entails making it mute.

Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Computing

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Deals

Here are the best Chromebook deals available in March 2019

Whether you want a compact laptop to enjoy some entertainment on the go, or you need a no-nonsense machine for school or work, we've smoked out the best cheap Chromebook deals -- from full-sized laptops to 2-in-1 convertibles -- that won't…
Deals

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for March 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Deals

Looking for a Chromebook? The Google PixelBook just got a $200 price cut

Once relatively obscure, Chromebooks have come into their own in a big way in recent years. One of our favorites is the super-sleek Google Pixelbook, and it's on sale right now from Amazon for $200 off, letting you score this premium laptop…
Computing

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.
Computing

Go hands-free in Windows 10 with speech-to-text support

Looking for the dictation, speech-to-text, and voice control options in Windows 10? Here's how to set up Speech Recognition in Windows 10 and use it to go hands-free in a variety of different tasks and applications within Windows.
Computing

Get the most out of your high-resolution display by tweaking its DPI scaling

Windows 10 has gotten much better than earlier versions at supporting today's high-resolution displays. If you want to get the best out of your monitor, then check out our guide on how to adjust high-DPI scaling in Windows 10.
Mobile

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.
Computing

Nvidia’s GTX 1650 graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over the 1050 Ti

Rumors suggest Nvidia might soon launch the GTX 1650, and a leaked benchmark listing from Final Fantasy XV suggests that the new graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over last generation's GTX 1050 Ti. 
Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Computing

Get the new Dell XPS 13 for $750 with this limited-time deal

Dell is currently running a limited time deal lasting through Thursday, March 28, where you can bring home a version of this year's new XPS 13 for around $750 with the use of a special coupon code.