On 22 March the New York Times Carried an interesting review of a book, by Brian Christian “The Most Human Human” which deals with the Turing Test. Alan Turing famously postulated that if a human could be fooled into believing that he was conversing with a fellow mortal (rather than with a computer) then the Turing Test would have been passed. The Test relies (obviously) on the human who is conversing with a computer and another person being remote from both in order that he has no way (other than by typing) of ascertaining which is the machine and which the flesh and blood being.
Brian Christian argues that we are approaching the issue of what constitutes a human in the wrong manner. We are, he contends ourselves becoming more like computers. For example a person dealing with an automated telephony system may (when he is, eventually transferred to an actual person) find that the individual with whom he is conversing communicates in a similar manner to the robot with whom he was previously dealing. This is because customer service representatives are trained to communicate in a robotic manner rather than employing human traits. Again Christian argues that our reliance on predictive texting makes us more robotic.
The way for a human to distinguish him or herself from a computer/robot is to show originality and flair something which computers demonstrate no signs of developing. If humans show real individuality (rather than behaving robotically) then it is, Christian argues easy to separate the human wheat from the computer chaff (my words not his).
When I sent this article to a friend his response was that it would be interesting to carry out the Turing Test using individuals drawn from tribes who have had little or no interaction with technology and who are, therefore less robotic in their conversational ability.
For this thought provoking article please visit http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/books/review/book-review-the-most-human-human-by-brian-christian.html?_r=1