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Danger Lampost

Futurist & Technology Consultant,


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What would make a good Turing Test for the Soul?

In the movie "2001, A Space Odyssey", Stanley Kubrick presents us with the HAL-9000 computer with a seemingly human like consciousness. This question pre-supposes that we will be able to create a computing device of a similar sort that would behave to all the world like a human consciousness.

What it feels like to be this consciousness is an interesting question. You could ask it and listen to what it says. Could you trust what it says though?

Alan Turing devised a deviously clever test: You'd sit someone down at a keyboard and ask them to converse with a personality on the other side, and solely through the conversation, determine whether they are talking with a piece of software or a real human.

Let's say we have succeeded in building such a software system that could pass the Turing Test and fool any and all questioners - impossible to differentiate from a real human solely based on the conversation.

Let's kick it up a notch now and ask: What test could you devise to determine whether the software system had a soul? Or to put it another way for effect, what evidence might you present to a court of law to argue that pulling the plug on such a software system was tantamount to murder? Suppose *you* were this software system, arguing with a court of law that they should not pull the plug on you. What arguments would you make?


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    Mar 30 2013: semantics vs syntax, it was a stab. I.read the Wiki and thank you Danger I have a clearer understanding.

    ok here are a few ?'s for AI...

    what does it feel like to fall in love and then have your heart broken?
    what does it feel like to be judged as kind?
    what does it fell like to make a mistake?
    What to does it feel like to witness beauty?
    what does it feel like to eat a vanilla ice cream cone (with rainbow sprinkles) on a hot sunny day?
    what does it feel like to realize you have misjudged someones character?
    what does it feel like to have an a moment of inspiration?
    what does it feel like to come to a conclusion on your own?
    what does it feel like to tell a lie to another?
    what does it fell like to be a machine?

    sorry..getting carried away a bit

    My Soul.. a tough one

    ok...my Brain has explored this notion with fearless thought for a very long time. My library is stocked with the the words of scientists, theologians, gurus , atheists, story tellers,etc, etc, etc. Through my journey of exploration, my Mind recognized the truth, with certainty that I AM more then my body.Yes..... I have a soul. I guess the word Mind could be used as an equivalent if it speak to conscience , if it speaks to an innate knowing,

    thanks for your response surely a fun ride!

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