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From Alan Turing to modern AI: practical solutions and an implicit epistemic stance


It has been just over 100 years since the birth of Alan Turing and more than 65 years since he published in Mind his seminal paper, Computing Machinery and Intelligence (Turing in Computing machinery and intelligence. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1950). In the Mind paper, Turing asked a number of questions, including whether computers could ever be said to have the power of “thinking” (“I propose to consider the question, Can computers think?” ...Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence, Mind, 1950). Turing also set up a number of criteria—including his imitation game—under which a human could judge whether a computer could be said to be “intelligent”. Turing’s paper, as well as his important mathematical and computational insights of the 1930s and 1940s led to his popular acclaim as the “Father of Artificial Intelligence”. In the years since his paper was published, however, no computational system has fully satisfied Turing’s challenge. In this paper we focus on a different question, ignored in, but inspired by Turing’s work: How might the Artificial Intelligence practitioner implement “intelligence” on a computational device? Over the past 60 years, although the AI community has not produced a general-purpose computational intelligence, it has constructed a large number of important artifacts, as well as taken several philosophical stances able to shed light on the nature and implementation of intelligence. This paper contends that the construction of any human artifact includes an implicit epistemic stance. In AI this stance is found in commitments to particular knowledge representations and search strategies that lead to a product’s successes as well as its limitations. Finally, we suggest that computational and human intelligence are two different natural kinds, in the philosophical sense, and elaborate on this point in the conclusion.

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Correspondence to George F. Luger.

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Luger, G.F., Chakrabarti, C. From Alan Turing to modern AI: practical solutions and an implicit epistemic stance. AI & Soc 32, 321–338 (2017).

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  • Artificial intelligence
  • Computational intelligence
  • Epistemic stance