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What is the Imitation Game | Definition and Meaning

Last modified on Sunday, October 8, 2023

1 minute read

Defining The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game is the original name for the more modern eponymous term "Turing Test" as proposed in Alan Turing's 1950 paper "Mind". Turing proposes the high level question "Can machines think?", but, admitting it is too ambiguous to answer, immediately proposes a new question. He proposes a game where a man and a woman each try to convince an interrogator (that they cannot interact with directly). The woman is aligned with the interpreter, and wishes for them to make the correct judgement, that A is a man, and that B is a woman. The man A, wishes for the interrogator to decide incorrectly. The original question "can machines think" is thereby replaced by Alan Turing to ask if a machine plays the part of A, can the machine cause the interrogator to guess incorrectly just as often as a human? Turing's question focusses on whether there are conceivable computers which would answer this question, and was not concerned with the 1950 status quo. Turing believed that in 50 years from 1950, 2000, that the average interrogator would not have a greater than 70% chance of winning after 5 minutes of questioning.


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