“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”
Albert Allen Bartlett
These are depressing times so this month’s contribution (a bit short for time, to be honest), though topically linked to the ongoing pandemic, deserves attention from different angles in its own right.
We’re going to have a quick look at exponential growth.
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!
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.
Has this blog been looking a little stale of late? Does it need a change of focus or direction?
Thoughts welcome: comment, reply, message Facebook, Twitter, etc. …