Published in AI

Turing test is out of date

by on31 December 2020

According to Alexa boss

Alexa's Head boffin Rohit Prasad  claims that the Turing Test is out of date and ignores many new AI developments.

For those who came in late, a Turing Test is a method of inquiry in artificial intelligence (AI) for determining whether a computer is capable of thinking like a human being. The test is named after Alan Turing, the founder of the Turing Test and an English computer scientist, cryptanalyst, mathematician, and theoretical biologist.

Prasad said that while Turing's original vision continues to be inspiring, interpreting his test as the ultimate mark of AI's progress is limited by the era when it was introduced.

He said that the Turing Test all but discounts AI's machine-like attributes of fast computation and information lookup, features that are some of modern AI's most effective.

“The emphasis on tricking humans means that for an AI to pass Turing's test, it has to inject pauses in responses to questions like, "do you know what is the cube root of 3434756?" or, "how far is Seattle from Boston?" AI knows these answers instantaneously and pausing to make its answers sound more human isn't the best use of its skills. Moreover, the Turing Test does not consider AI's increasing ability to use sensors to hear, see, and feel the outside world. Instead, it is limited simply to text”, Prasad said.

To make AI more useful today, these systems need to accomplish our everyday tasks efficiently. If you are asking your AI assistant to turn off your garage lights, you aren't looking to have a dialogue. Instead, you would want it to fulfil that request and notify you with a simple acknowledgment, "ok" or "done", he said.

Prasad said that when you engage in an extensive dialogue with an AI assistant on a trending topic or have a story read to your child, you would still like to know it is an AI and not a human.

“Fooling users by pretending to be human poses a real risk. Imagine the dystopian possibilities, as we've already begun to see with bots seeding misinformation and the emergence of deep fakes. Instead of obsessing about making AIs indistinguishable from humans, our ambition should be building AIs that augment human intelligence and improve our daily lives in a way that is equitable and inclusive,” he said.

He thinks it would be better for AIs to exhibit human-like attributes of intelligence -- including common sense, self-supervision, and language proficiency -- and combine machine-like efficiency such as fast searches, memory recall, and accomplishing tasks on your behalf.

“The end result is learning and completing a variety of tasks and adapting to novel situations, far beyond what a regular person can do,” Prasad said.


Last modified on 31 December 2020
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