Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

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Talking and listening

One of the panels at the weekend Extreme Computing show included George and Freeman Dyson plus Tom Standage and interviewer Pat Cadigan. Not surprisingly in the wake of his new book about the chess-playing Turk there was a discussion of artificial chess playing and the Turing Test (which I think is more interesting in Turing's original version which contrasts identifying gender in discussion with identifying intelligence). There's an idea to use IRC as a testing ground for AI bots.
To me one interesting point is about online communication; if we don't make enough of a real connection in IRC/IM/etc that we could be deceived by a bot, what level of real communication are we getting with the real people we talk to? Kids send a lot of SMS messages that amount to little more than 'so what are you doing now?' A lot of IM messages are 'hi' or 'what time are we going to the pub'. Real conversations take more effort, more thought, more time and may happen over a period of days or weeks as we get to know a person. On one hand, I'd consider a machine intelligent if it could have that kind of deep conversation and on the other, I wonder often I manage to have those deep connected conversations with other people.

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