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Turing test

Turing test, a procedure to test whether a computer is capable of humanlike thought. As proposed (1950) by the British mathematician Alan Turing, a person (the interrogator) sits with a teletype machine isolated from two correspondents—one is another person, one is a computer. By asking questions through the teletype and studying the responses, the interrogator tries to determine which correspondent is human and which is the computer. The computer is programmed to give deceptive answers, e.g., when asked to add two numbers together, the computer pauses slightly before giving the incorrect sum—to imitate what a human might do, the computer gives an incorrect answer slowly since the interrogator would expect the machine to give the correct answer quickly. If it proves impossible for the interrogator to discriminate between the human and the computer, the computer is credited with having passed the test.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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