Turing test, a procedure to test whether a computer is capable of humanlike thought. As proposed (1950) by the British mathematician Alan Turing, a person (the interrogator) sits with a teletype machine isolated from two correspondents—one is another person, one is a computer. By asking questions through the teletype and studying the responses, the interrogator tries to determine which correspondent is human and which is the computer. The computer is programmed to give deceptive answers, e.g., when asked to add two numbers together, the computer pauses slightly before giving the incorrect sum—to imitate what a human might do, the computer gives an incorrect answer slowly since the interrogator would expect the machine to give the correct answer quickly. If it proves impossible for the interrogator to discriminate between the human and the computer, the computer is credited with having passed the test.
The Turing Test was proposed by computer pioneer Alan M. Turing (1912–1954) to determine whether a computer program is intelligent. This modern interpretation of the so-called imitation game is based on a setup where a person, a computer, and an interrogator are in three separate rooms and connected via computer terminals. The task of the interrogator is to figure out by asking questions which of the two connected terminals is operated by the human and which is the test computer. The computer is considered to be intelligent if the interrogator fails to determine its identity. The Turing Test is recognized as a critical test for computer intelligence and, as of 2002, had not been passed by any computer.
See also Artificial Intelligence; Thinking Machines