TED Conversations

Farrukh Yakubov

Student, Purdue University


This conversation is closed.

What question would you ask to identify whether or not you were chatting with a well developed software or a person?

Imagine an experiment where you are asked to chat with one hundred people online, no sound or image, just text. Three of them are actually not real, they an extremely good automated response systems. Your task is to identify those three. You are allowed to ask only one and same question from everyone. People on the other end are specifically chosen such that none of them have similar personality. Programs are also given a unique personality. Only trick is, while you ask questions, programs observe responses of everybody else and may or may not change behavior based on that. What would your question be?

P.S. If you would like to be sure how good is 'extremely good' automated response system in the though experiment above, you may consider it to be the best of such systems you think is possible.


Closing Statement from Farrukh Yakubov

Now that the conversation is over I would like to leave you with more thoughts.

Imagine, this experiment took place and you asked your question, and indicated three of the participants as programs. What if this experiment was not what you thought it was, and after the experiment you were told that 100 participants were all human or all programs, or even a single person answering 100 different ways? What if the purpose of the experiment was not about the capabilities of programs, but about the people - to see how people percieve an intelligent software? Did you think about this possibility?

On the other hand, if the experiment was to test the programs, how effective do you thinki it would be to use this same question of the experiment? i.e. asking "What question would you ask to identify whether or not you were chatting with a well developed software or a person?" from each of the 100 participants.

It is up to you to chose the post experinment scenario, and you would be correct. Because, the experiment can work both ways wether you decide to look at this experiment as an attemp to test programs, or a way of understanding peoples' understanding of programs.

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  • Jan 22 2014: You are in a prison with two other people, one always lies and the other always tells the truth. There are two doors in the prison, one leads to sudden death, the other to feedom. Both people know what is behind each door. You may ask one question to either person and walk out to freedom, what is the question?
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      Jan 22 2014: How can we get out of here?:)
      • Jan 22 2014: sorry.. wrong
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          Jan 23 2014: Compare with what is the answer wrong? Or becuase you say it's wrong, so it's wrong?
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      Jan 23 2014: "What door would the other person point to, if I asked which one leads to freedom?" The door that was not pointed is the one to go through. Does not depend on which one of them answers this.
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        Jan 23 2014: So in your philosophy, who answers the quesiton in the "wrong"(you defined) way are not real persons? Or they're just chatting bots?
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          Jan 23 2014: The comment above was just how I would answer to Keith's question if I was one of the 100 on the other end of the network. But if you mean how would I judge if I was the one asking questions, then I would not expect everyone to answer the right way, because there might not be single correct way to answer. Instead, one way I could judge is to get all 100 answers, then compare them.
      • Jan 23 2014: You and I have very similar interests and knowledge backgrounds I see, my guess is less than 1 in a billion can solve that problem without looking it up on the internet. That one was easy, would you like to try this one? Can you tell me how to sort data without moving it? That took IBM's best over thirty years, I did it over a weekend 46 years ago. If you get that one I will give you a really hard one about quantum physics. I am curious to see if you have any limitations.
      • Jan 23 2014: Farrukh, why is your answer right and Yoka's answer wrong? I think you may explain it better than me...
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          Jan 23 2014: Why do you think a liar never says a single truth? What if they play tricks on you becasuse they know you don't trust them? Do you think an intelligence test like this can help you to find a real person you like or has much in common with you in your real life?
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          Jan 23 2014: Concise way of explaining this, is that those two (people in the question) behave like quantum entangled particles. Longer verbal explanation is below:

          Hi Yoka, I think Keith said it's wrong because just asking any one of them about the safe way out does not provide sufficient information to identify where the doors lead. You may just get lucky and ask the person that knows the truth, or it may turn out otherwise. The trick is to assume the person you are going to talk to could be both of them. If you asked any one of them which way the other one would point to as safe, they could either lie or tell the truth. But if they lie, then the other person would tell the truth, and vice versa. While having only two possible answer choices, opposite of lie is the truth, of truth is a lie.

          Therefore, no matter who you ask, you either get truth about the lie, or a lie about the truth. Thus you get a lie. Now you can be sure about where the doors lead.
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          Jan 23 2014: Thank you for your encouragement. Hope my assertive words didn't hurt you two. Any inappropriate comments, please ignore them.
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        Jan 23 2014: “"What door would the other person point to, if I asked which one leads to freedom?" The door that was not pointed is the one to go through. Does not depend on which one of them answers this. ”
        Why this answer can't be programmed in a smart robot?
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        Jan 23 2014: Thank you for your elaboration. I think I understand it. But I meant to take all of us three to get out of the prison. I can just let them open the door and follow them to go out. So if the liar wants to survive, he has to tell the truth.

        And actually, I don't think this kind of question can help me judge a person on the internet in our real life. I'd be too lazy to answer it and pass my attention to chat with other people.
        • Jan 23 2014: Thanks for your patience Yoka, I figured Farrukh could help better than I could, he is a smart and gentle guy. The question is a brain teaser and not at all easy to solve but you just plowed into it anyway and I give you a thumbs up for trying. I enjoy your comments and think you have a lot to offer so hang in there and fire away anytime you like.
      • Jan 23 2014: The heap sort is a comparative sort still an incredibly slow sort compared to mine. I'll give you a hint, my sort does not sort anything. It operates as fast as the records can be read, no data movement and near zero cpu time. It was ingenious 46 years ago and as far as I know it is still the fastest sort in the world. Some Professors at Stanford challanged me to beat their sort version because their's is the fastest sort ever published. My sort has never been published and aside from my Professor a retired Air Force Mathematician no one has ever seen my code. It was my first program, a simple assignment for class and it was supposed to be written in COBOL, however I wrote it in Fortran which I taught myself and he did not understand the code.
        By the way I had a good laugh about your "quantum entangled particles" explanation. By the way if you have not seen Princess Bride by all means watch it some time.. 3 min. part on logic- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sPVEBAtwmg
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          Jan 24 2014: The first time I thought about this I assumed no data movement meant using any memory (other than where data already resides) for structures regarding the sorting information is not allowed. Also, I'm assuming linear complexity when u say "zero cpu time". Please let me know if you meant something else other than the above. Also, does your design work with any type of data with same efficiency? From what you describe it sounds as if its a method of accessing data as if it was sorted, while order of data entries remain unchanged.
          If the purpose is just to provide the sorted index of a requested entry, Selection algorithm to find kth smallest item from the set has a linear complexity. But it is not ideal if random kth items are being continuously accessed.
          Thus I have a solution in mind, that modifies, reuses and combines existing methods to create generic non-comparative sorting that works with a set of data (let size of the set be 'n'), where each item has arbitrary length, and does so in linear time.

          Edit: I don't expect it to be same or similar to what you have in mind, its just another way of doing things.

          Algorithm is explained on the next comment. This is going to be divided into few chunks due to limits of this conversation platform.
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          Jan 24 2014: Continuation of my previous comment:

          It does not modify the original data set, but produces an array of pointers (referred as the map) of length n. Other memory that will be used is of size 256 integers (referred as the workspace), which is no longer required after completion of the algorithm. I'm going to start describing it from the lowest component to highest. Also, I'll use C notation to avoid wordy sentences.

          First component takes advantage of pointer manipulation and underlying architecture.It is a partial Counting sort. This stage takes in only set of bytes.
          1.Reset workspace to zeros.
          2.for each item e in the input set, perform workspace[e]++ //offset of each entry in workspace represents a value of an item; value at the offset represents the # of items in the set that are equal to the item.
          3.for i=1 to 'size of workspace', perform workspace[i]+=workspace[i-1] //value of each entry in workspace represents #of items in the set that are less than or equal to the item with value 'offset'.
          4.First component does not proceed with constructing sorted array, but instead provides a way find index of each item as if the set was sorted. Index of 'someItem' from the input set in a sorted set would be workspace[someItem]. Higer level component will obtain index for each item exacly once.

          Second component is a radix sort, but bytes will be used for grouping instead of bits. The map is initialized such that map[i] contains adress of set[i]. At each iteration, the first component is used to divide each subsequent set up to 256 groups, until they no longer need sorting, i.e. is of length 1. Also, actual items in the set will not be moved around, instead only the pointers in the map are modified such that map[i] is the index of ith item in a "sorted" set.

          Complexity is explained on the next comment.
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          Jan 24 2014: Continuation of my previous comment:

          Counting sort(first subcomponent) has complexity O(n+k), k is maximum possible value of each integer item (256 in this case), n is length of the current subset. This is a stable non-comparative sort.

          Radix sort using stable non-comparative sort has execution time of Θ(d(n+k)), d is length of items in the set. n is size of the set. For arbitrary length items, upper bound should be O(p(n+k)). p is an avarage length of items in set. p.s. items of length less than p, will no longer be in subsets of size larger than 1 after p iterations.

          I may not use the same method if the nature of the input is known beforehand.

          Final comment, in the process I discovered this platform does not include anything after 'less than' symbol.
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          Jan 25 2014: Farrukh - can you tell me if I'm not understanding your algorithm properly? I believe your algorithm is n-log-n and not linear, because the original question placed no constraints on the size of each input element.

          If each input element were allowed to be a random 64-bit integer, the size of your work space would be 16 quintillion bytes, which would be an issue.

          Am I missing something?
    • Timo X

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      Jan 23 2014: I'm assuming you don't know which is which. It took me some time, but I think I figured it out. You ask either of them: what will the other guy say is the door to sudden death? The person will indicate a door, that's the one you want to take. Alternatively, you can ask which will the other guy say is the door to freedom, and take the door not indicated.
      • Jan 23 2014: Very good but Farrukh posted the answer 25 minutes earlier. Did you look it up or figure it out?
        Another way to phrase it is: Which door will the other guy tell me go through? and then go through the other one.
        Good work out Farrukh, Yoka and Timo... remember it is the journey that is most important and all of you took the same journey. Because you got different answers should in no way spoil your journey because there "is" no destination, the destination is an illusion. Buddha put it this way:

        "Nirvana is this moment seen directly. There is no where else than here. The only gate is now. The only doorway is your own body and mind. There’s nowhere to go. There’s nothing else to be. There’s no destination. It’s not something to aim for in the afterlife. It’s simply the quality of this moment."
    • Jan 23 2014: The question doesn't matter.
      If i choose life i'll go to the door that the lier will show me, no matter what i asked.


      Freedom is a lie, the lier will show me the door to freedom, if i ask for it. If i ask the door to sudden death, he will show me the same door, to freedom , because he is a lier.
      If ask the person who always tells truth, where is the door to freedom , he will show me the door to sudden death, because , it's a real freedom. If i ask him where is the door to sudden death , he will show me the door to sudden death, because he always tells truth.
      • Jan 23 2014: This is truely a remarkable explanation. What do you think Farrukh, can you see the beauty in her logic?
        • Jan 23 2014: Maybe you've pushed the wrong reply button ?:)
          It's me,not Farrukh.
          I've experienced the beauty of logic on the way to..., but now i see the flaws.
          Frankly, i don't see any version of explanation that can eliminate the uncertainty.
          In case, there is such and you know it, please share !
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          Jan 24 2014: Interesting way of putting things together. If I were to further analyze this, under the above explained conditions, choosing a random door would be as good as talking to anyone. However, under this concept of the world, there is still a solution that leads to certainty. It's actually more efficient that the one in standard concept. If you ask anyone of them which way the other one would point to to freedom, they will always point to freedom. Its guaranteed by the design of the preconditions, no post thinking to be done like as in other case. Since a lier always points to freedom, truthful person would not alter lier's decision. On the other hand, the lier would point to any door other than the truthful person believes to be freedom. What I find amazing is that formulating a different preconditions allows formulating a logic that does not contradict with those of different setups.
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          Jan 25 2014: "What do you think is the biggest problem in the world today...?"

          This must be one of the hardest questions to answer, due to many problems and not all of them can be compared. Perhaps this would be a good question of choice for the above thought experiment. :)

          Science is key to move everything forward, and computer science seems to be the beating heart of the current era. I am not sure what I would want to tackle first, but I would let my interests lead the way.
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        Jan 24 2014: Its not a question of did I read it, it is that of when I read it.
        -this is a response to your response of Keith's response to you main comment. :)
        • Jan 24 2014: I see... you and Keith have ' do-not-disturb-us' kind of conversation :)
          OK then, enjoy it !
        • Jan 24 2014: Farrukh I copied your last response to a word file and will go over it next week, I'm not as sharp as I used to be so it will take me a while to figure out your method. I tried to email you but the link did not work for me. Here is my email (keithwhenline@gmail.com) drop me a line and I will tell you as best I can remember how my sort works for your information and you can do whatever you like with it. I am curious about your background I assume you spent time or was raised in the Kazakhstan area and moved to the US to further your education. Also wondering what kind of impact you want to have in the world, with your knowledge you obviously have a wide range of possiblities. What do you think is the biggest problem in the world today and are you willing to tackle it?
      • Jan 25 2014: Natasha you are right of course, I have no right to give anyone any more attention than someone else and I apologize for offending you. It was totally my fault. The riddle I purposed was my way of telling if I was speaking to a bot or a very smart person and was another version of his original Turning type suggestions. Upon reading Farrukh's background which is very similar to mine I wanted to see how deep the rabbit hole goes and I found it has no bottom to my delight. I got caught up in that as you witnessed and forgot my manners and you have every right to call me on it, thank you. I hope you can forgive me and I will try not to every do that again.
        • Jan 25 2014: No worries, you don't have any chance to offend me !
          I mean, my ego is thin enough :)
          Your riddle and that episode from " The Princes Bride " gave me an aha moment and i am grateful for that. Actually, those two are in perfect congruence. Probably i was a bit upset that there seemed to be nobody who was interested, but on the other hand, it's not easy to language what i've got, so it's OK anyway.

          Thank you !
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      Jan 23 2014: The question about a 100% liar and 100% truth teller assumes that you can find two people, such that one always tells the truth and one always lies. I don't think that ever happens in reality, and it's not a premise of the original question, so I can't see how this classic logic puzzle is a solution to this Turing test.

      Am I missing something?
      • Jan 25 2014: I simply answered a question with another question... an old politician trick I quess.
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        Jan 25 2014: I agree, if the two persons lie at the same time(not one lies, another must be honest )......I think making them go through the door first could help to get all the people free from the prison in reality. But if they're terrorists who want to kill you with any cost......:)
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      Jan 23 2014: "Would the other person tell me that the left-hand door leads to freedom?"

      If the person says 'Yes' and is lying, then the other person would truthfully say 'No,' so the right-hand door leads to freedom.

      If the person says 'Yes' and is truthful, then the other person would deceitfully say 'Yes,' so the right-hand door leads to freedom.

      This is a logic question which would be much easier for an advanced computer to figure out than a person.

      If the person says 'No' and is truthful, then the other person would deceitfully say 'No' and the left-hand door leads to freedom.

      If the person says 'No' and is lying, then the other person would truthfully say 'Yes' and the left-hand door leads to freedom.

      So, if the person says 'Yes,' then the right-hand door leads to freedom. And if the person says 'No,' then the left-hand door leads to freedom.
      • Jan 23 2014: It was a riddle, and both Farrukh and Timo gave good logical answers.
      • Jan 25 2014: You do not know which person is which and if you ask the question right, it does not matter. Faarrukh and Timo both gave answers that would work.
    • Jan 27 2014: "Could you come over here?" Then I grab either one and throw him through a random doorway. If he's obliterated, that's the door not to go through.
      • Jan 27 2014: Now that is a solution without a question....:) Even more efficient..

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