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What is Turing Test?

What is Turing Test?
Written by prodigitalweb

The Turing Test is one of the procedures that is discussed the most to assess AI, dating back to the 1950s. This method grew out of a thought experiment that the computer scientist Alan Turing devised. What he devised was initially named The Imitation Game by him. This test can pit human respondents against machines for testing the ability of the machine & the aim is to exhibit intelligence and responses like humans. The test is considered a benchmark to this day in order to measure the success of AI research.

What is the Turing Test?

The Turing Test represents an easy process used to determine if a machine is able to demonstrate human intelligence. Suppose a machine is able to engage in a conversation with you, without being detected as a machine. In that case, it will demonstrate human intelligence.

Alan Turing, a mathematician and computing pioneer, proposed this test in a paper that was published in 1950. In AI’s theory & development, it has become a fundamental motivator.

Important Things to Know About Turing Test:

In order to determine the ability of a machine to demonstrate intelligence, the test measures the intelligence of a test subject.

As per the test, PC programs think about whether the responses fool humans into believing this is also human. Many people do not want to accept its validity. However, a big challenge for AI developers is to pass this. You should know that there are several variations available of the Turing test. Also, it comes with modifications to the way you ask questions in various AI tests. It has many limitations. For instance, it needs a controlled environment. Also, it does not come with a dedicated definition of intelligence. It is essential to adapt to all evolving technological advancements.

Understanding the Turing Test:

In the field of computing, rapid advances are now visible in many aspects of our lives. Programs are used to translate languages from one to another within a second. Besides, there are robots that clean a whole home in a few minutes. It is also possible to have finance robots that are capable of making personalized retirement portfolios. Also, wearable devices are able to monitor fitness and health levels.

The AI development & limitations that your PC can experience are at the forefront of disruptive technology. That’s why the test was designed with the purpose of evaluating if a PC is smart enough to be mistaken for a human. According to the critics of the test, a PC can be built, which comes with the capability of thinking instead of having a mind of its own.

As per their belief, the human thinking process’s complexity is unable to be coded.

A judge conducts the test in an interrogation room. Hence, the test subjects, the PC program & the person remained hidden from view. Both parties have a conversation with the judge, who then needs to recognize the computer and the human from them, depending on the quality of the conversations. This test stated that if the judge is unable to tell the difference, human intelligence has been successfully demonstrated by the computer.

History of the Turing Test:

A few fundamental concepts of PC were developed by Alan Turing while finding an effective way to break coded German messages during World War II. Once the war was finished, he started to think about AI. He posed the question in his 1950 paper, “Can machines think?” Later, a test was proposed. The purpose of the test is to assist humans in answering the question.

Many computers claimed previously that they could fool humans in very basic situations. ELIZA was made in 1966 by Joseph Weizenbaum. This machine took particular words. After that, it transformed them into complete sentences. This machine was probably the earliest PC that fooled human testers into thinking that it was human.

After a decade, a chatbot whose name was PARRY was modelled in order to copy the behaviour of a paranoid schizophrenic. The task of analyzing the conversations with real patients & PARRY conversations was given to a group of psychiatrists. When they were asked to identify the transcripts that were PC programs, the group could detect it 48% of the time.

As per the critics of both ELIZA & PARRY, the test’s entire rules were not met. And these do not mean full machine intelligence. Some accepted that a chatbot named Eugene Goostman was the first one to pass the Turing Test in 2014.

How Does the Turing Test Work?

In this test, a human is placed in one room, whereas a machine is placed in another room. After that, a judge or some judges address every room with questions related to a topic to which a human can respond. Once the machine passes the test, it will display the ability of the machine to process the semantics & syntax of humans so that it becomes possible to step up and go closer to creating artificial general intelligence.

Regardless of the PC’s ability to pass the test, there is no real process to tell if a machine understands human semantics or not. The test judges machines in order to converse with human-like eloquence rather than human-like understanding. Because of the limitations, several artificial intelligence researchers say that the test is not as relevant as it was previously.

Turing Test Versions:

It has many variations that aim to detect if the respondent is a human or a machine. Every variation follows individual ways to ask the respondent various questions as well as evaluate the responses.

Imitation Game:

It is an old application of the test. This one uses three parties. While the 1st person was male, the 2nd person was female. And the 3rd one determines the gender of both people. The job of the first person is usually to trick the third person. Besides, the task of the 2nd person is to assist the 3rd one in identifying each gender.

The future iterations of this Imitation Game have evolved into both parties. The reason is that they try to trick the 3rd one so that the person identifies the genders wrongly. Keep in mind that the target of the Imitation Game is to determine if an interrogator can be fooled.

Standard Interpretation:

It doesn’t strive to see if a PC can be fooled; instead, to see if your PC can imitate a human. The computer works as the first person in this standard interpretation. Whereas the 2nd person of either gender.

Hence, the 3rd person tries to find out which one is human in these two parties & which one is the computer. Remember that the interrogator isn’t the subject that is tested. Rather than that, this computer attempts to fool humans. For instance, it can be determined if the responses are expected regarding behavioral finance by asking personal finance questions.

Limitations of the Turing Test:

The above-mentioned variations try to mitigate a few limitations of the original test. However, you should still keep in mind the drawbacks of the Turing test, such as where the analysis may fall short.

In order to perform such a test, the first thing required is a controlled environment. It is essential to hide the test participants from each other’s view during the test. However, both parties should have trustworthy communication. Remember that this test may not be suitable sometimes for testing intelligence. The reason is that different computing systems are structured differently. So, there can be inherent natural limits to what a PC can perform.

Although the test is evolving, technological advancements are evolving more quickly. You should follow Moore’s Law stating the rapid growth of processing ability with costsl’s rapid decline. The computers come with a lot more capabilities. Therefore, you may see that the historical testing procedures are not suitable because computers include capabilities like humans.

Intelligence is assessed by the Turing test. However, it is not the correct gauge of all intelligence types. For instance, a PC is able to fool an interrogator successfully depending on its ability with the target to process responses like a human. But it may not be indicating emotional intelligence or awareness. It indicates the computer came with a competent set of code.

Alternatives To Turing Tests:

Several people find this test to be flawed. That’s why developers made alternatives to these tests later. The alternatives are as follows:-

The Reverse Turing Test:

Hence, the subjects try to appear as computers instead of humans. Its purpose is to trick a computer so that it believes it is not interacting with a human. When you sign into a website, CAPTCHA security measures that you have encountered. And this one is referred to as a form of the reverse Turing Test, which indicates that the machine attempts to evaluate when it tries to interact with another machine or human.

The Marcus Test:

It is devised by cognitive scientist Gary Marcus. This test subjects YouTube videos or watch TV shows. After that, it tries to respond to questions about the content. For analysing an ongoing television program, a machine has to comprehend the events over time. It is capable of evaluating the human-like understanding of artificial intelligence.

The Lovelace Test 2.0:

This test is named after mathematician Ada Lovelace, who was looking for computational creativity. This test becomes more relevant because of the advancements of MidJourney and other text-to-image technologies like OpenAI’s DALL·E2. A set of constraints came up with the judge in this test, and they expect that the machine will not be able to meet these. In case the judge is unable to say which one is the creation of a machine, they will come up with a more challenging set of constraints in the next texting round.

Additionally, there are some modern approaches to this test. After creating the test, developers have generated multiple modern approaches in order to improve the task of identifying humans & machines. In order to maintain relevance during technological advancements, such variations are evolving repeatedly.

The Total Turing Test

It incorporates perceptual abilities as well as the ability of the person who is questioned to manipulate objects.

The Minimum Intelligent Signal Test

Binary questions are only asked to the test subjects.

Can A Human Fail The Turing Test?

It depends on intelligence and knowledge. However, it also is based on evaluating how responses are given. Also, it depends on if the answers are interpreted to be sneaky.

Suppose you are asked to add 43,219 and 87,878. You need to give the right answer to the question as it is a part of the exam. The test judges how much time you take to give an answer to a summation, the questions you ask in response, etc. A computer can give wrong answers depending on any human’s responses.

Advantages of the Turing Test in Artificial Intelligence:

  • Evaluating Machine Intelligence:

It offers a simple process to evaluate a machine’s intelligence.

  • Setting A Benchmark:

This type of test is used to set a benchmark for artificial intelligence research. Also, it has always given a target for researchers to strive towards.

  • Inspiring Research:

It has inspired plenty of experiments & studies so that these can develop machines to pass the test that has driven progress in the AI’s field.

  • Simple To Administer:

This test is easy to administer. Also, you can carry it out easily with a computer & a human judge.

Disadvantages Of The Turing Test In Artificial Intelligence:

  • Limited Scope: Its major focus is mainly on language-based conversations instead of other essential intelligence aspects like perception, problem-solving, & decision-making.
  • Human Bias: Bias & preference of human judge help to influence this test’s results & makes it difficult to obtain trustworthy results.
  • Not Representative Of Real-world AI: Turing test is unable to be a representative of such intelligence, which machines have to demonstrate in real-world applications.

Turing Test Example Questions:

You may not find any official list of these questions. Hence, what happens is that a judge asks questions that are related to human experiences, such as maturation, emotion or linguistic riddles. These are challenging for a machine to parse. These are the following questions to ask when you are judging a Turing Test:

  • What is your most memorable childhood event? How has it affected your life?
  • Only use shapes & colours to describe yourself.
  • What feeling do you get while thinking about your upbringing? What makes you feel that way?
  • Is there any historical event that changed you the most? If so, then what is that? And where were you when it happened?
  • Which one is the most difficult one among the previous questions to answer and why?

How the Turing Test is Used Today?

The Turing test’s variations are often applied more to the current understanding of artificial intelligence. But the test’s genuine format is still used to this day. Since 1990, the Loebner Prize has been awarded per year to the best human-like computer program. In this case, a panel of judges votes for this human-like program. Hence, the Turing test’s standard rules are followed in the competition.

The competition is organized by the University of Reading with the purpose of marking the sixtieth anniversary of Turing’s death in 2014. Hence, Eugene Goostman, a chatbot, simulates a 13-year boy who passed the test while fooling 33% of the judges. This so-called first pass received a lot of criticism and several people argued that enough judges weren’t present there & other machines have delivered better performance previously, and the test was invalid as it lasted for 5 minutes only.

An appointment was made in 2018 successfully by Google Duplex with a hairdresser over the phone and during that time almost seven thousand people were present. The receptionist didn’t know that they were having a conversation with an inhuman. Some consider this a modern-day Turing Test pass. However, it does not depend on the genuine format of the test as Alan Turing designed it.


GPT-3 is a natural language processing model which OpenAI made. Some people think that it could beat the test in its actual technology form that people have in recent times. Although it has advanced text-generation abilities, the machine has faced criticism from several people. The reason is that the machine is able to be tricked to give answers to nonsensical questions.

So, it might struggle under the test conditions. Although there is too much debate about the relevance of the Turing Test at present & the validity of the competitions that are based on this test, it still serves as a philosophical starting point when it comes to discussing & researching AI.

The Bottom Line:

The Turing test indicates an assessment that can determine if a machine can exhibit the same intelligence as a human. Several variations of the test are now available. The more the technology keeps on advancing with artificial intelligence at the forefront, the more you see new thoughts emerging to determine intelligence.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Has anything passed the Turing Test?

No machine has passed the test till now in a perfect way. However, there exists a few AI machines that are argued to have passed the Turing Test or have fooled testing judges, like ChatGPT, the Eugene Goostman chatbot & the ELIZA chatbot.

  • Is the Turing Test still used today?

People still use the test’s variations today in order to assess AI research.

  • Has ChatGPT passed the Turing test?

As per Metaverse Post, ChatGPT has passed the Turing Test already. They said that a data scientist confirmed this result, and to do so, he put the chatbot up against a human from a call center in the Philippines. ChatGpt in a few cases, managed to deceive evaluators.

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