Artificial Sentience

Alan Turing, the father of computer science, back in the 1950’s devised the Turing Test, the idea behind it is to assess machines if it has developed the ability to think like us. It was basically having a conversation through text with 2 peers, one is a computer, and the other is a human, and the tester doesn’t know which is which. The tester start to ask any question he wants and the peers can answer, and through this, the tester should be able to distinguish between the human and the computer. However, if the tester failed to recognize which is which, that means the machine had succeeded in fooling the tester that it is a human, thus it has a strong AI.


As mentioned in Whitemore’s play Breaking the Code where Turing explains how one of his colleagues made his computer hum tunes and singing “jingle bells” and writing love letters proved that a computer is a universal machine that is not just meant to do calculations, but it can perform any task that can be described in programming symbols. Turing’s view in Breaking the Code play was that a computer can do any task a human brain can carry out, not just what the computer is programmed to do, but it may start like that. He said We can set the computer to modify its instructions in the course of the process. A computer can be made to learn. Aristotle once said “All men by nature desire to know.”, but what if we taught this concept to our machines? More complex applications of artificial intelligence are utilized today by many companies around the globe. One example Tesla cars; in their AutoPilot, where they implemented machine learning algorithms on their car, each driver became a teacher so that the software learnt from how to drive. 


Any computer today is a complex version of the Turing machine, the machine that Turing invented in 1936 that manipulates symbols on a strip of tape according to a table of rules (program). If we think of it, aren’t live beings, including us humans, act on the same principle? We’re a set of “machines” that get input through our senses and perform outputs in according to our predefined biological rules that we have in our DNA? We have already made computers know how to learn, but what is the next step after we program the perfect “DNA Program”? Are we approaching times were a computer will be made sentient and have consciousness?


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