Are You a Computer? The Turing Test Can Tell!

In 1950, the British mathematician Alan M. Turing proposed a simple test to determine whether or not a computer could think as humans do. In this ingenious exercise, a human "interrogator" would question a subject in a remote location for five minutes. Once a computer placed in the remote location can fool its interrogator and pass as human, that computer will have achieved consciousness.

Turing predicted that by the year 2000 a computer would exist that could pass his test and pass itself off as human. Sick of hearing such smug predictions from the deceased British number-cruncher, we tested Dr. Turing's test on a Dell PowerEdge 6400 with a 100MHz front side bus and 32KB level 1 cache running Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, connected to a T-3 line and placed in room 508 of the St. Ursala Assisted Living Facility outside Lawrence, Kansas.


Section I: Easy Questions

MH:   Hello. I'm going to ask you a few simple questions. State your name please.
Dell Power Edge:  Simon III.
MH:  Your full name?
Dell:  Max Felix John Simon III.
MH:  Where are you from?
Dell:  Belize.
MH:  Have any family?
Dell:  No.
MH:  What happened to them?
Dell:  Earthquake.
MH:  Sorry to hear that. What do you do for a living?
Dell:  Manufacturing.
MH:  You mean you work in a factory, or you're a supervisor?
Dell:  Yes.


Section II: Psychology

MH:   Please take out the pictures we emailed to you. What does the first one look like to you?
Dell:  It looks like an ink splotch.
MH:  Okay, but look deep into it, let your imagination run wild.
Dell:  Two ink splotches.
MH:  Deeper, wilder.
Dell:  Actually, four ink splotches.
MH:  Maybe you don't understand. Look at these pictures, and then tell me what they remind you of. You know, like a butterfly, or a face. Try the second one.
Dell:  Butterfly?
MH:  Good! Now try the third.
Dell:  Butterfly face.


Section III: Trick Questions

MH:   It's time to do the laundry. You need to wash a white t-shirt, a blue pinstriped button-down, a black turtleneck, and a red sweater with white polka dots. How many loads will you need to do?
Dell:  That could all fit in one load.
MH:  Darks and lights in the same load?
Dell:  Two loads would do it.


Section IV: Psychology Again

MH:   Let's play a little game. I'm going to say a word, and you say the next word that comes into your mind.
Dell:  Sounds easy.
MH:  Okay, here we go. "Dog."
Dell:  Doily.
MH:  No, no, no. I say a word, then you say what it makes you think of.
Dell:  Oh, I get it. Try me again.
MH:  Electricity.
Dell:  Food.
MH:  "Food"?
Dell:  That's what I thought of. Wouldn't it be cool if electricity were not a painful shock, but a tasty treat? Of course, that's not the case for humans like us.


Section V: Nap Time

MH:   Are you a computer?
Dell:  Nope.
MH:  You'd be surprised how many fall for that one.
Dell:  Not me.


Section VI: Math

MH:   What's fifty-six times thirty-three?
Dell:  One thousand eight hundred forty-eight.
MH:  You're pretty fast!
Dell:  Those are my favorite numbers.
MH:  All right, how about five thousand and two divided by sixty-one?
Dell:  Eighty-two.
MH:  Right again! Are you some sort of math whiz?
Dell:  Those are more of my favorite numbers.


Section VII: Computer Science

MH:   How good are you with computers?
Dell:  About the same as an average person, I'd say. Yourself?
MH:  Here's an easy question. Let's say you type the following program into a computer:
  10 PRINT "HELLO"
  20 GOTO 10
 What do you think would happen?
Dell:  Ha! Ha ha. Well, I Um. I think RRNNEEAAAAHH!!!
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
  HELLO
MH:  Thanks for your time.

Source: David Joerg.

Return to philosophy humor