Study Questions for

A. M. Turing’s Computing Machinery and Intelligence


Douglas R. Hofstadter’s A Coffeehouse Conversation



Please, pay serious attention to Turing’s article – this will be on the quiz. I would, however, appreciate, if you would look at (or even read!) Hofstadter’s dialogue which interprets and elaborates many of the fine points Turing raised.




Questions pertaining to Turing’s article

  1. What is wrong, according to Turing, with the question: can machines think? What is his suggestion for replacing this question?
  2. What is the imitation game? What is its purpose? Try to describe its most important features!
  3. How does Turing define the meaning of the word, “machine”? What is and what is not included in this concept?
  4. What is Turing’s own position about the possibility of thinking machines?
  5. Consider each objection carefully. Try to find the main point of each objection and then consider how Turing tries to answer it. Pay particular attention to objections #1, 2, 4, 5, 7, and 9.



Questions pertaining to Hofstadter’s dialogue

  1. What is the Turing test?
  2. What is the point in the objection against the imitation game (p. 73)?
  3. What is the point in the example about simulated hurricanes?
  4. If everything is just simulation what can we say about calculations the machine/computer performs?
  5. What is the point in Dennett’s argument about cash registers?
  6. How does the discussion about the extension of the meaning of words contribute to Turing’s argument?
  7. What kind of questions do the participants ask from the machine in a Turing test situation?
  8. What is the conclusion of the dialogue?





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