Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

What if a Computer Passed the Turing Test?

My prediction is, in a few decades, we will come to accept entities that are not biological as conscious. 

You know, if a computer passes the Turing test, which is this test that Alan Turing devised, 1950 actually, he was very forward looking, basically if a computer passes the Turing test, it is passing for a human, it is indistinguishable from a human, we could talk about the details, but in my view, if a computer could do that, and it can’t do that yet, I mean, Watson’s a very encouraging step in that direction, but when it can do that, I personally will accept it as human.  I believe the common wisdom will be to accept them because they’ll be very convincing.  When they say, “I’m mad at you because you promised me such and so and you didn’t come through,” we’ll believe that it actually has those emotions, because it will have the subtle queues that go along with them.  We won’t want to accuse them of, that nobody is home, because they’ll get mad at us and they’ll be very smart and very influential and so we are going to believe them. 


The movie that Barry Ptolemy made, Transcendent Man, about my life and ideas, deals with this very issue and it’s dealt with in my books and other writings.  You know, passing the Turing test is an objective test of performance.  It’s not actually a demonstration that this entity is conscious.  I would actually maintain that there is no scientific way to demonstrate that an entity is conscious.  It’s only apparent to itself, consciousness is a synonym for subjectivity and there’s a conceptual gap between subjectivity and objective observation, which is what science is.

Some people say, “Okay, it’s not scientific, therefore, it’s not important, it’s just an illusion.  That’s not view either.  Our whole morale system is based on consciousness.  If I hurt a conscious entity, if it’s human, I mean, that’s a crime.  If it’s an animal, it’s animal cruelty.  If it’s, you know, my lamp, it’s probably okay, if it’s your lamp, it’s not okay but that’s not because I’m suffering to the lamp, it’s causing suffering to you, the owner of the lamp.  See, everything has to do with consciousness.

My prediction is, in a few decades, we will come to accept entities that are not biological as conscious.  But it won’t be so clear, it’s not going to be, “Okay, machines on the right side of the room, humans on the left,” it’s going to be all mixed up.  You talk to your biological human, they will have lots of non-biological processes going on in their body and brain.  Those computers will be out on the clouds and the thinking of that “person” isn’t even just in their body and brain even in the non-biological portion, it’s out on the cloud.  So it’s going to be all mixed up, there’s not going to be a clear distinction between human and machine.  The bottom line is we are one human machine, civilization.  This technology has already expanded who we are and is going to go into high gear when we get to the steep part of the exponential. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

LIVE EVENT | Radical innovation: Unlocking the future of human invention

Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

NASA's idea for making food from thin air just became a reality — it could feed billions

Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.

Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
  • Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
  • The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Keep reading Show less

Navy SEALs: How to build a warrior mindset

SEAL training is the ultimate test of both mental and physical strength.

Videos
  • The fact that U.S. Navy SEALs endure very rigorous training before entering the field is common knowledge, but just what happens at those facilities is less often discussed. In this video, former SEALs Brent Gleeson, David Goggins, and Eric Greitens (as well as authors Jesse Itzler and Jamie Wheal) talk about how the 18-month program is designed to build elite, disciplined operatives with immense mental toughness and resilience.
  • Wheal dives into the cutting-edge technology and science that the navy uses to prepare these individuals. Itzler shares his experience meeting and briefly living with Goggins (who was also an Army Ranger) and the things he learned about pushing past perceived limits.
  • Goggins dives into why you should leave your comfort zone, introduces the 40 percent rule, and explains why the biggest battle we all face is the one in our own minds. "Usually whatever's in front of you isn't as big as you make it out to be," says the SEAL turned motivational speaker. "We start to make these very small things enormous because we allow our minds to take control and go away from us. We have to regain control of our mind."
Keep reading Show less

How COVID-19 will change the way we design our homes

Pandemic-inspired housing innovation will collide with techno-acceleration.

Maja Hitij/Getty Images
Coronavirus
COVID-19 is confounding planning for basic human needs, including shelter.
Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast