Could a machine think? — Could it be in pain? — Well is the human body to be called such a machine? It surely comes as close as possible to being such a machine.
But a machine surely cannot think! — Is that an empirical statement? No. We only say of a human being and what is like on that it thinks. We also say it of dolls and no doubt of spirits too. Look at the word “to think” as a tool.
Ludwig Wittgenstein Philosophical Investigations 359-360
Wittgenstein’s note comes to mind as I continue thinking about Turing tests. I think this quote has been read as saying that there can be no test for intelligence or thinking, but it is really not at all saying that. It merely says that we use the concept of things that are like us. And the interesting part about that is that there are so many qualities that could be used to assess that. At what point will we simply give up and call something human?
Enter the Voigt-Kampff machine, the monster Turing test in the movie Bladerunner. In that test Decker, the bounty hunter, has to use extreme equipment to detect the tell-tale lack of empathic response that reveals someone as a replicant. There is a legitimate ethical question here about how much we are allowed to test an entity to determine that it is not human. And how arbitrary those tests can be. The Turing test easily degenerates to a Shibboleth. Here Decker uses the Voigt-Kampff to determine if Rachael is a artificial or real mind:
Oh, and on the note on alternative Turing tests, I now add civilization-scale tests (is this an intelligent civilization) and the meta-Turing test: is this person able to detect that they are in a Turing test situation. More to come. Bear with me…