Fumbling Towards the Meaning of Life

Russell Turpin deafbox at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 21 06:58:48 PDT 2003

Jeff Bone:
>Ninth:  per Turing, the "person" in question has to be unrecognizable vs. a 
>biological human in an unbounded .. interaction with a human.

I think this is too stringent a requirement.
It's easy to imagine an alien species that
cannot pass as human, in dialogue, but that is
nonetheless sentient and intelligent in a broad
sense, and whose members we would recognize
legally as other people. Turing intended his
test as proof, not requirement, i.e., "any X
that can pass as one of us must be intelligent,"
not "any intelligent being must be able to pass
as one of us."

Another way to think about this is that
"passing as one of us" can be used to define
quite narrow sets. For example, I can create
a Turing test that defines "us" as "those who
have some understanding of point-set topology."
This would include only a small fraction of all
humans, and some number of existing AIs, but
otherwise is just a Turing test, with a
somewhat different inclusion group.

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