A Turing test. This was designed by Alan Turing in 1950 to determine the intelligence of computers. That is, if a computer can ‘think’ and not just put out answers to questions it is asked. This is a hard quality to test reliably, with the only one coming to mind is Watson being able to come up with the questions whilst playing Jeopardy.

A Turing test attempts to measure it by having the computer have a conversation with a person for an amount of time. If the computer can convince the person they are talking to, they have succeeded in one portion of the test. The test is run with a large amount of participants and the computer will have to convince at least 30% of the participants that they are a human being after a 5 minute conversation.

A Chinese Room. This is a thought that even though a computer may be able to speak and have a conversation, this is only a simulation of knowledge. This leads to the conclusion that even if a computer can convince all of the participants in the Turing test that it is a person, the computer still does not have the intelligence to think, it is just merely simulating this. It is not actually thinking, just being able to have the conversation as it can pull data from across a very wild spectrum so it appears to be knowledgeable of a topic.

Virtual Agents. I have very limited use of virtual agents so far in my experience with shopping online and so on. This is due to the fact that the couple of times I’ve attempted to use them, they have frustrated me. This comes from not being able to link stuff together. Like say I’m looking to purchase a bottle of Pinot Noir from New Zealand, it is very unlikely a robot may be able to convince me to buy a bottle of local wine that has very similar tasting notes to it. There is no human element of empathy and trust when using a robot to help you look for a product. Whereas, I might be able to appeal to a person and convince them that the other wine is worth a shot because of some element, it doesn’t matter what it is but you have to be able to read your customer. The body language of a person is very important and that plays a big part of how I approach someone. A computer cannot read body language. It may attempt to but it is very difficult to create a program that is reliable to do this.



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