In his 1950 article for Mind, Alan Turing (p.433) explores whether machines can think by using an imitation game as an analogy for his explorations. The imitation game is played by three people: a man, a woman, and an interrogator of either sex. The interrogator must establish, by asking a series of questions, which is the man and which is the woman. The interrogator cannot see the respondents or hear their replies as the questions and answers are in written form. In Turing’s game the man or the woman is replaced by a computer. Turing (p.434) then asks the question whether the interrogator would be fooled as often in the game if one of the respondents was a computer, and infers that the computer would be able to respond as succinctly and comprehensively as any human.


The game Turing envisages will use only digital computers (p.436) as it…

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