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It might at first seem a trivial target to create a machine to compete in a general knowledge quiz. The intelligence involved in playing chess feels like a vertical sort of intelligence, penetrating deeply into the logical consequences of the game, while Jeopardy!But answering questions such as: "William Wilkinson's An account of the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia inspired this author's most famous novel" requires a very sophisticated piece of programming that can return the answer quickly enough to beat your rival to the buzzer. requires a horizontal thought process, thinking shallowly but expansively over a large data base.This was in fact the final question in the face-off with the two all-time champions of the game show. The program at the heart of Watson's operating system is particularly sophisticated because it learns from its mistakes.Can we bypass millions of years of evolution to create something to rival the power of the 1.5kg of grey matter contained between our ears?How do we actually quantify human intelligence to be able to say that we have succeeded in Turing's dream? Should we instead be looking to create a new sort of machine intelligence different from our own?Last year saw one of the major landmarks on the way to creating artificial intelligence. Playing chess requires a deep logical analysis of the possible moves that can be made next in the game. is about understanding a question written in natural language and accessing quickly a huge database to select the most likely answer in as fast a time as possible.
His question was inspired by a book he had been given at the age of 10: Natural Wonders Every Child Should Know by Edwin Tenney Brewster.
The book was packed with nuggets that fired the young Turing's imagination including the following provocative statement: "Of course the body is a machine.
It is vastly complex, many times more complicated than any machine ever made with hands; but still after all a machine. But that was before we knew as much about the way it works as we know now.
It really is a gas engine; like the engine of an automobile, a motor boat or a flying machine." If the body were a machine, Turing wondered: is it possible to artificially create such a contraption that could think like he did?
This year is Turing's centenary so would he be impressed or disappointed at the state of artificial intelligence?