Category Archives: General

Turing Test for Dogs

A good, punchy, witty reminder from Existential Comics that most people who drone on about the ‘Turing Test’, particularly news reports that some new software has ‘passed the Turing Test’, have never even read, let alone understood, Turing’s original 1950 paper.

Just to recap on a few essentials:

  • The ‘Turing Test’, even by today’s common interpretation, relies on a human decision-maker, whose sophisitication in recognising AI presumably increases with the development of AI itself.  It isn’t precise enough to be a ‘test’.  It never was a ‘test’.
  • Turing himself, never proposed any ‘test’, merely an illustrative game to compare impressions of intelligence.
  • The figures Turing gave were a prediction of what might be possible, not a benchmark for passing any ‘test’.
  • There is no ‘Turing Test’.

Read the paper!


Can Futurology ‘Success’ be ‘Measured’?

Passions run high among sci-fi fans: never in this blog’s history has it been so necessary to note ‘this is only a bit of fun‘ in advance of a post!

How ‘good’ are we at predicting the future?  More precisely, how could we measure how good anyone is at it?  Well, we’re going irritate some straight away here by treating ‘serious’ academic researchers, professional ‘futurists’ and science fiction writers as doing essentially the same thing.  Perhaps, on that basis, we should narrow our notion of science fiction to ‘hard’ sci-fi loosely set somewhere in humanity’s future; but, that aside, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

Continue reading


Reset?

Has this blog been looking a little stale of late?  Does it need a change of focus or direction?

[XKCD, https://xkcd.com/1854/]

Thoughts welcome: comment, reply, message Facebook, Twitter, etc. …


(Ghosts of) Christmases Past, Present and Future

There’s no CS-based Christmas story this year (boooooo!) because most of the year has been spent finishing, publishing and promoting the (CS-based) novel (hooooray? – maybe not!).  So instead, here are some links to previous years’ offerings and an entirely unsubtle suggestion for a Christmas present!

xmas2016

In 2014, we first encountered the Travelling Santa Problem, in which Father Christmas was introduced, by his ‘decision elf’, Boz, to the magic (non-deterministic) reindeer, Rudolph.  Together they figured out the best way to deliver presents to all the children in the world.

Then the following year, 2015, Father Christmas was given a whole load more (in fact, an infinite number of) planets to deliver to and he needed the help of Rudolf’s ‘countable’ Russian cousin, Nureyev, in Santa in the Continuum.

If you haven’t read them before, or you fancy a bit of light relief, give them a (re)read!

On the other hand, if you’re looking for the perfect Christmas present for that certain someone who likes their science fiction with a bit of substance (and a touch of ethics, social awareness, environmentalism, politics and spirituality too), then perhaps the book itself is what you need?  (Which is, itself, set over the Christmas and New Year period, by the way!)

There are various places to get it from, depending on personal principles and requirements.  It can be ordered:

But whatever you choose to read or not read, MERRY CHRISTMAS!