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The Turing test: Can a computer pass for a human? - Alex Gendler

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What is consciousness? Can an artificial machine really think? For many, these have been vital considerations for the future of artificial intelligence. But British computer scientist Alan Turing decided to disregard all these questions in favor of a much simpler one: Can a computer talk like a human? Alex Gendler describes the Turing test and details some of its surprising results.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Alex Gendler
  • Director Patrick Smith
  • Animator Patrick Smith
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
Additional Resources for you to Explore
To find out more, you can read Turing’s original paper that started it all. Then take a look at actual transcripts of conversations with early chatbots, as well as more recent Loebner prize winners. For a well-known criticism of the ideas behind the Turing Test, read John Searle’s paper on the Chinese Room thought experiment. Finally, for a closer look at the many elements and strategies involved in both human and computer conversations, check out Brian Christian’s book The Most Human Human.

TED-Ed also has some great lessons on robots - take some time and find out more about robots below!
Make robots smarter –Ayanna Howard
Can robots be creative? - Gil Weinberg
4 lessons from robots about being human - Ken Goldberg

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Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Alex Gendler
  • Director Patrick Smith
  • Animator Patrick Smith
  • Narrator Addison Anderson