Is the Turing Test, or any of its variants, a reliable test of artificial intelligence?
Yes, if one defines the term Artificial Intelligence in terms of Alan Turing's Imitation Game or one of its variants. The approach may be, at the same time, both valid and very limited as a definition of intelligence as people interpreted the word before AI emerged.
Consequently, there are a large number of alternative approaches to measuring intelligence, artificial or otherwise.
- Becoming a chess grand master
- Authoring a winning chess program
- Receiving a highly selective international award
- Creating a strategy that wins a war or a peace
- Overcoming the thousands of rounds of elimination in business or politics to become President
- Authoring brilliant articles, papers, screenplays, lectures, speeches, books, or poems that generate significant human paradigm shifts
- Showing genius level results in a Mensa test
- Becoming one of the most wealthy people in the world
Normal Measurement of Normal Intelligence
But these are measurements of exceptional intelligence of some kind, mostly because the leaders in these areas have reliably applied intelligence over multiple domains in such ways that led to remarkable success through multiple real life scenarios. The reliability is an attribute of the person possessing the intelligence, not the test of intelligence itself.
These are more mundane, yet perhaps more valid and reliable, measures of intelligence.
- Raising healthy and loving children as verifiable through the careful interviewing of friends and associates of the members of the family
- Repeated and successful remedy of many conditions of varying types that were once identified as broken in some tangible and measurable way and found to be measurably corrected as a result of the application of intelligence comprehension, analysis, and remedial action
- Conversational intelligence as measurable through the participants in conversation attributing their own success to the ideas and examples set by the conversationalist
What Are the Truly Desired End Goals?
Perhaps the primary characteristic of the Turing Test is that it is artificial. If artificial intelligence is what we want from AI software, then that is what we will receive. However, it is likely we want something either considerably more or considerably less.
We want more in that it would be nice of some computers could be our friend, our mentor, and an unpaid employee with exceptional abilities leading to our personal success in terms of income, influence, popularity, or legacy.
We want less in that we want some computers to do domain specific tasks and remain as fully subservient tools, perhaps with some personality and warmth, like a ship or some other complex device we give human names, yet without the unpredictability of the far reaching capabilities of human intelligence.