Turing on the integration of human and machine intelligence

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Sterrett, Susan G.

Sterrett, S. G. Turing on the integration of human and machine intelligence. In: Turing 100, Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, Juliet Floyd and Alisa Bokulich, eds. (Springer Verlag, expected date of publication 2016).


Philosophical discussion of Alan Turing’s writings on intelligence has mostly revolved around a single point made in a paper published in the journal Mind in 1950. This is unfortunate, for Turing’s reflections on machine (artificial) intelligence, human intelligence, and the relation between them were more extensive and sophisticated. They are seen to be extremely well-considered and sound in retrospect. Recently, IBM developed a question-answering computer (Watson) that could compete against humans on the game show Jeopardy! There are hopes it can be adapted to other contexts besides that game show, in the role of a collaborator of, rather than a competitor to, humans. Another, different, research project --- an artificial intelligence program put into operation in 2010 --- is the machine learning program NELL (Never Ending Language Learning), which continuously ‘learns’ by ‘reading’ massive amounts of material on millions of web pages. Both of these recent endeavors in artificial intelligence rely to some extent on the integration of human guidance and feedback at various points in the machine’s learning process. In this paper, I examine Turing’s remarks on the development of intelligence used in various kinds of search, in light of the experience gained to date on these projects.

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Invited contribution to volume in Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science series, edited by Juliet Floyd and Alisa Bokulich, to commemorate 100th anniversary of Alan Turing's birth.