Maquinações
Experimentações teóricas, fichamentos e outros comentários descartáveis

Maquinaria computacional e inteligência

Rafael Gonçalves
12/01/2022

Fichamento do famoso artigo Computing machinery and intelligence1 de Alan Turing, um dos nomes mais importantes da computação.

Posição do problema: máquinas podem pensar? Definição dos termos.

I PROPOSE to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?’ This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms ‘machine’ and ‘think’. (p. 433)

Problema no uso dos termos com definições quotidianas

The definitions might be framed so as to reflect so far as possible the normal use of the words, but this attitude is dangerous. If the meaning of the words ‘machine’ and ‘think’ are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to the question, ‘Can machines think?’ is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll. But this is absurd. Instead of attempting such a definition I shall replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words. (p. 433)

Definição alternativa não ambígua: o jogo de imitação

The new form of the problem can be described in terms of a game which we call the ‘imitation game’. It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays in a room apart from the other two. The object of the game for the interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman. He knows them by labels X and Y, and at the end of the game he says either ‘X is A and Y is B’ or ‘X is B and Y is A’. (p. 433)

The interrogator is allowed to put questions to A and B thus:

C: Will X please tell me the length of his or her hair?

Now suppose X is actually A, then A must answer. It is A’s object in the game to try and cause C to make the wrong identification. His answer might therefore be

‘My hair is shingled, and the longest strands are about nine inches long.’

In order that tones of voice may not help the interrogator the answers should be written, or better still, typewritten. The ideal arrangement is to have a teleprinter communicating between the two rooms. Alternatively the question and answers can be repeated by an intermediary. The object of the game for the third player (B) is to help the interrogator. The best strategy for her is probably to give truthful answers. She can add such things as ‘I am the woman, don’t listen to him!’ to her answers, but it will avail nothing as the man can make similar remarks.

We now ask the question, ‘What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game?’ Will the interrogator decide wrongly as often when the game is played like this as he does when the game is played between a man and a woman? These questions replace our original, ‘Can machines think?’ (p. 433-4)

É uma questão que vale a pena investigar?

As well as asking, ‘What is the answer to this new form of the question’, one may ask, ‘Is this new question a worthy one to investigate?’ This latter question we investigate without further ado, thereby cutting short an infinite regress. (p. 434)

Separação entre qualidades físicas e intelectuais

The new problem has the advantage of drawing a fairly sharp line between the physical and the intellectual capacities of a man. No engineer or chemist claims to be able to produce a material which is indistinguishable from the human skin. It is possible that at some time this might be done, but even supposing this invention available we should feel there was little point in trying to make a ‘thinking machine’ more human by dressing it up in such artificial flesh. (p. 434)

Identificação do humano com o racional (?)

The question and answer method seems to be suitable for introducing almost any one of the fields of human endeavour that we wish to include. We do not wish to penalise the machine for its inability to shine in beauty competitions, nor to penalise a man for losing in a race against an aeroplane. The conditions of our game make these disabilities irrelevant. (p. 435)

Definição de máquina como computador digital

This [[ the possibility of creating a human from the cells of human engineers ]] prompts us to abandon the requirement that every kind of technique should be permitted. We are the more ready to do so in view of the fact that the present interest in ‘thinking machines’ has been aroused by a particular kind of machine, usually called an ‘electronic computer’ or ‘digital computer’. Following this suggestion we only permit digital computers to take part in our game. (p. 436)

Ressalvas

Thie restriction appears at first sight to be a very drastic one. I shall attempt to show that it is not so in reality. To do this necessitates a short account of the nature and properties of these computers. (p. 436)

It may also be said that this identification of machines with digital computers, like our criterion for ‘thinking’, will only be unsatisfactory if (contrary to my belief), it turns out that digital computers are unable to give a good showing in the game. (p. 436)

Não todo computador digital concreto, mas ao menos algum computador digital imaginário

There are already a number of digital computers in working order, and it may be asked, ‘Why not try the experiment straight away? It would be easy to satisfy the conditions of the game. A number of interrogators could be used, and statistics compiled to show how often the right identification was given.’ The short answer is that we are not asking whether all digital computers would do well in the game nor whether the computers at present available would do well, but whether there are imaginable computers which would do well. But this is only the short answer. We shall see this question in a different light later. (p. 436)

Tal máquina deve fazer qualquer operação que um computador humano (?)

The idea behind digital computers may be explained by saying that these machines are intended to carry out any operations which could be done by a human computer. (p. 436)

O computador humano deve seguir regras fixas

The human computer is supposed to be following fixed rules; he has no authority to deviate from them in any detail. We may suppose that these rules are supplied in a book, which is altered whenever he is put on to a new job. (p. 436)

He has also an unlimited supply of paper on which he does his calculations. (p. 436)

A digital computer can usually be regarded as consisting of three parts:

• (i) Store.
• (ii) Executive unit.
• (iii) Control. (p. 437)

The executive unit is the part which carries out the various individual operations involved in a calculation. (p. 437)

The store is a store of information, and corresponds to the human computer’s paper, whether this is the paper on which he does his calculations or that on which his book of rules is printed. In so far as the human computer does calculations in his head a part of the store will correspond to his memory. (p. 437)

We have mentioned that the ‘book of rules’ supplied to the computer is replaced in the machine by a part of the store. It is then called the ‘table of instructions’. It is the duty of the control to see that these instructions are obeyed correctly and in the right order. The control is so constructed that this necessarily happens. (p. 437)

Exemplo de instrução

A typical instruction might say— ‘Add the number stored in position 6809 to that in 4302 and put the result back into the latter storage position’. (p. 437)

It would more likely be coded in a form such as 6809430217. Here 17 says which of various possible operations is to be performed on the two numbers. (p. 437)

Condicional e repetição

The control will normally take the instructions to be obeyed in the order of the positions in which they are stored, but occasionally an instruction such as ‘Now obey the instruction stored in position 5606, and continue from there’ may be encountered, or again ‘If position 4505 contains 0 obey next the instruction stored in 6707, otherwise continue straight on.’ (p. 437-8)

The reader must accept it as a fact that digital computers can be constructed, and indeed have been constructed, according to the principles we have described, and that they can in fact mimic the actions of a human computer very closely. (p. 438)

Programação como construção do livro de regras

The book of rules which we have described our human computer as using is of course a convenient fiction. Actual human computers really remember what they have got to do. If one wants to make a machine mimic the behaviour of the human computer in some complex operation one has to ask him how it is done, and then translate the answer into the form of an instruction table. Constructing instruction tables is usually described as ‘programming’. To ‘programme a machine to carry out the operation A’ means to put the appropriate instruction table into the machine so that it will do A. (p. 438)

Máquinas não determinísticas

An interesting variant on the idea of a digital computer is a ‘digital computer with a random element’. These have instructions involving the throwing of a die or some equivalent electronic process; one such instruction might for instance be, ‘Throw the die and put the resulting number into store 1000’. Sometimes such a machine is described as having free will (though I would not use this phrase myself). It is not normally possible to determine from observing a machine whether it has a random element, for a similar effect can be produced by such devices as making the choices depend on the digits of the decimal for π. s (p. 438)

Most actual digital computers have only a finite store. There is no theoretical difficulty in the idea of a computer with an unlimited store. Of course only a finite part can have been used at any one time. Likewise only a finite amount can have been constructed, but we can imagine more and more being added as required. Such computers have special theoretical interest and will be called infinitive capacity computers. (p. 438-9)

Concepção do computador digital na Analytical Engine de Charles Babbage (1828-39)

The idea of a digital computer is an old one. Charles Babbage, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge from 1828 to 1839, planned such a machine, called the Analytical Engine, but it was never completed. Although Babbage had all the essential ideas, his machine was not at that time such a very attractive prospect. The speed which would have been available would be definitely faster than a human computer but something like 100 times slower than the Manchester machine, itself one of the slower of the modem machines. The storage was to be purely mechanical, using wheels and cards. (p. 439)

Um computador digital não precisa ser elétrico. Não existe relevância teórica no fato do sistema nervoso usar sinais elétricos (além de químicos)

The fact that Babbage’s Analytical Engine was to be entirely mechanical will help us to rid ourselves of a superstition. Importance is often attached to the fact that modem digital computers are electrical, and that the nervous system also is electrical. Since Babbage’s machine was not electrical, and since all digital computers are in a sense equivalent, we see that this use of electricity cannot be of theoretical importance. Of course electricity usually comes in where fast signalling is concerned, so that it is not surprising that we find it in both these connections. In the nervous system chemical phenomena are at least as important as electrical. In certain computers the storage system is mainly acoustic. The feature of using electricity is thus seen to be only a very superficial similarity. If we wish to find such similarities we should look rather for mathematical analogies of function. (p. 439)

The digital computers considered in the last section may be classified amongst the ‘discrete state machines’. These are the machines which move by sudden jumps or clicks from one quite definite state to another. These states are sufficiently different for the possibility of confusion between them to be ignored. (p. 439)

Máquina de estado discreto não existe. Digital é construído na realidade analógica.

Strictly speaking there are no such machines. Everything really moves continuously. But there are many kinds of machine which can profitably be thought of as being discrete state machines. For instance in considering the switches for a lighting system it is a convenient fiction that each switch must be definitely on or definitely off. There must be intermediate positions, but for most purposes we can forget about them. (p. 439)

Exemplo de máquina de estado discreto

As an example of a discrete state machine we might consider a wheel which clicks round through 120° once a second, but may be stopped by a lever which can be operated from outside; in addition a lamp is to light in one of the positions of the wheel. This machine could be described abstractly as follows. The internal state of the machine (which is described by the position of the wheel) may be q1, q2 or q3. There is an input signal i0 or i1, (position of lever). The internal state at any moment is determined by the last state and input signal according to the table

``````                Last State
q1 q2 q3
Input
i0               q2 q3 q1
i1               q1 q2 q3
``````

The output signals, the only externally visible indication of the internal state (the light) are described by the table

``````State  q1 q2 q3
Output o0 o0 o1
``````

This example is typical of discrete state machines. They can be described by such tables provided they have only a finite number of possible states. (p. 439-40)

Comparação com determinismo laplaciano. Assunção validada na prática de que as máquinas funcionam como tal

It will seem that given the initial state of the machine and the input signals it is always possible to predict all future states. This is reminiscent of Laplace’s view that from the complete state of the universe at one moment of time, as described by the positions and velocities of all particles, it should be possible to predict all future states. The prediction which we are considering is, however, rather nearer to practicability than that considered by Laplace. The system of the ‘universe as a whole’ is such that quite small errors in the initial conditions can have an overwhelming effect at a later time. The displacement of a single electron by a billionth of a centimetre at one moment might make the difference between a man being killed by an avalanche a year later, or escaping. (p. 440)

It is an essential property of the mechanical systems which we have called ‘discrete state machines’ that this phenomenon does not occur. Even when we consider the actual physical machines instead of the idealised machines, reasonably accurate knowledge of the state at one moment yields reasonably accurate knowledge any number of steps later. (p. 440)

AS we have mentioned, digital computers fall within the class of discrete state machines. But the number of states of which such a machine is capable is usually enormously large. For instance, the number for the machine now working at Manchester it about 2^{165,000}, i.e. about 10^{50,000}. (p. 441)

The computer includes a store corresponding to the paper used by a human computer. It must be possible to write into the store any one of the combinations of symbols which might have been written on the paper. For simplicity suppose that only digits from 0 to 9 are used as symbols. Variations in handwriting are ignored. Suppose the computer is allowed 100 sheets of paper each containing 50 lines each with room for 30 digits. Then the number of states is 10^{100×50×30}, i.e. 10^{150,000}. (p. 441)

Given the table corresponding to a discrete state machine it is possible to predict what it will do. There is no reason why this calculation should not be carried out by means of a digital computer. Provided it could be carried out sufficiently quickly the digital computer could mimic the behaviour of any discrete state machine. The imitation game could then be played with the machine in question (as B) and the mimicking digital computer (as A) and the interrogator would be unable to distinguish them. Of course the digital computer must have an adequate storage capacity as well as working sufficiently fast. Moreover, it must be programmed afresh for each new machine which it is desired to mimic. (p. 441)

This special property of digital computers, that they can mimic any discrete state machine, is described by saying that they are universal machines. The existence of machines with this property has the important consequence that, considerations of speed apart, it is unnecessary to design various new machines to do various computing processes. They can all be done with one digital computer, suitably programmed for each case. It will be seen that as a consequence of this all digital computers are in a sense equivalent. (p. 441-2)

We may now consider again the point raised at the end of §3. It was suggested tentatively that the question, ‘Can machines think?’ should be replaced by ‘Are there imaginable digital computers which would do well in the imitation game?’ If we wish we can make this superficially more general and ask ‘Are there discrete state machines which would do well?’ But in view of the universality property we see that either of these questions is equivalent to this, ‘Let us fix our attention on one particular digital computer C. Is it true that by modifying this computer to have an adequate storage, suitably increasing its speed of action, and providing it with an appropriate programme, C can be made to play satisfactorily the part of A in the imitation game, the part of B being taken by a man?’. (p. 442)

Sobre conjecturas em relação ao pensamento maquínico e seus usos para a ciência

Nevertheless I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted. I believe further that no useful purpose is served by concealing these beliefs. The popular view that scientists proceed inexorably from well-established fact to well-established fact, never being influenced by any unproved conjecture, is quite mistaken. Provided it is made clear which are proved facts and which are conjectures, no harm can result. Conjectures are of great importance since they suggest useful lines of research. (p. 442)

Comentários sobre a objeção teológica

(1) The Theological Objection. Thinking is a function of man’s immortal soul. God has given an immortal soul to every man and woman, but not to any other animal or to machines. Hence no animal or machine can think. (p. 443)

It appears to me that the argument quoted above implies a serious restriction of the omnipotence of the Almighty. It is admitted that there are certain things that He cannot do such as making one equal to two, but should we not believe that He has freedom to confer a soul on an elephant if He sees fit? We might expect that He would only exercise this power in conjunction with a mutation which provided the elephant with an appropriately improved brain to minister to the needs of this soul. An argument of exactly similar form may be made for the case of machines. It may seem different because it is more difficult to “swallow”. But this really only means that we think it would be less likely that He would consider the circumstances suitable for conferring a soul. The circumstances in question are discussed in the rest of this paper. In attempting to construct such machines we should not be irreverently usurping His power of creating souls, any more than we are in the procreation of children: rather we are, in either case, instruments of His will providing mansions for the souls that He creates. (p. 443)

Comentários na objeção 'cabeças enterradas na areia'

(2) The ‘Heads in the Sand’ Objection. “The consequences of machines thinking would be too dreadful. Let us hope and believe that they cannot do so.” (p. 444)

But it affects most of us who think about it at all. We like to believe that Man is in some subtle way superior to the rest of creation. It is best if he can be shown to be necessarily superior, for then there is no danger of him losing his commanding position. The popularity of the theological argument is clearly connected with this feeling. It is likely to be quite strong in intellectual people, since they value the power of thinking more highly than others, and are more inclined to base their belief in the superiority of Man on this power. (p. 444)

I do not think that this argument is sufficiently substantial to require refutation. Consolation would be more appropriate: perhaps this should be sought in the transmigration of souls. (p. 444)

A objeção matemática

(3) The Mathematical Objection. There are a number of results of mathematical logic which can be used to show that there are limitations to the powers of discrete-state machines. The best known of these results is known as Gödel’s theorem,1 and shows that in any sufficiently powerful logical system statements can be formulated which can neither be proved nor disproved within the system, unless possibly the system itself is inconsistent. (p. 444)

The questions that we know the machines must fail on are of this type, “Consider the machine specified as follows. . . . Will this machine ever answer ‘Yes’ to any question?” The dots are to be replaced by a description of some machine in a standard form, which could be something like that used in § 5. When the machine described bears a certain comparatively simple relation to the machine which is under interrogation, it can be shown that the answer is either wrong or not forthcoming. This is the mathematical result: it is argued that it proves a disability of machines to which the human intellect is not subject. (p. 445)

Comentário: a objeção não recai nos termos do jogo de imitação

The short answer to this argument is that although it is established that there are limitations to the powers of any particular machine, it has only been stated, without any sort of proof, that no such limitations apply to the human intellect. But I do not think this view can be dismissed quite so lightly. Whenever one of these machines is asked the appropriate critical question, and gives a definite answer, we know that this answer must be wrong, and this gives us a certain feeling of superiority. Is this feeling illusory? It is no doubt quite genuine, but I do not think too much importance should be attached to it. We too often give wrong answers to questions ourselves to be justified in being very pleased at such evidence of fallibility on the part of the machines. Further, our superiority can only be felt on such an occasion in relation to the one machine over which we have scored our petty triumph. There would be no question of triumphing simultaneously over all machines. In short, then, there might be men cleverer than any given machine, but then again there might be other machines cleverer again, and so on. (p. 445)

O argumento da consciência

(4) The Argument from Consciousness. This argument is very well expressed in Professor Jefferson’s Lister Oration for 1949, from which I quote. “Not until a machine can write a sonnet or compose a concerto because of thoughts and emotions felt, and not by the chance fall of symbols, could we agree that machine equals brain—that is, not only write it but know that it had written it. No mechanism could feel (and not merely artificially signal, an easy contrivance) pleasure at its successes, grief when its valves fuse, be warmed by flattery, be made miserable by its mistakes, be charmed by sex, be angry or depressed when it cannot get what it wants.” (p. 445-6)

Comentário: visão solipsista do mundo

Considerar o argumento da consciência sem aceitar as mesmas consequências para outros seres humanos seria supor uma superioridade de qualquer forma (uma assimetria ~Latour).

This argument appears to be a denial of the validity of our test. According to the most extreme form of this view the only way by which one could be sure that a machine thinks is to be the machine and to feel oneself thinking. One could then describe these feelings to the world, but of course no one would be justified in taking any notice. Likewise according to this view the only way to know that a man thinks is to be that particular man. It is in fact the solipsist point of view. It may be the most logical view to hold but it makes communication of ideas difficult. A is liable to believe ‘A thinks but B does not’ whilst B believes ‘B thinks but A does not’. Instead of arguing continually over this point it is usual to have the polite convention that everyone thinks. (p. 446)

O argumento das várias deficiências

(5) Arguments from Various Disabilities. These arguments take the form, “I grant you that you can make machines do all the things you have mentioned but you will never be able to make one to do X”. Numerous features X are suggested in this connexionn. (p. 447)

No support is usually offered for these statements. I believe they are mostly founded on the principle of scientific induction. A man has seen thousands of machines in his lifetime. From what he sees of them he draws a number of general conclusions. They are ugly, each is designed for a very limited purpose, when required for a minutely different purpose they are useless, the variety of behaviour of any one of them is very small, etc., etc. Naturally he concludes that these are necessary properties of machines in general. Many of these limitations are associated with the very small storage capacity of most machines. (I am assuming that the idea of storage capacity is extended in some way to cover machines other than discrete- state machines. The exact definition does not matter as no mathematical ccuracy is claimed in the present discussion.) (p. 447-8)

Comentário sobre a (im)possibilidade da máquina errar

The claim that “machines cannot make mistakes” seems a curious one. One is tempted to retort, “Are they any the worse for that?” But let us adopt a more sympathetic attitude, and try to see what is really meant. I think this criticism can be explained in terms of the imitation game. It is claimed that the interrogator could distinguish the machine from the man simply by setting them a number of problems in arithmetic. The machine would be unmasked because of its deadly accuracy. The reply to this is simple. The machine (programmed for playing the game) would not attempt to give the right answers to the arithmetic problems. It would deliberately introduce mistakes in a manner calculated to confuse the interrogator. A mechanical fault would probably show itself through an unsuitable decision as to what sort of a mistake to make in the arithmetic. Even this interpretation of the criticism is not sufficiently sympathetic. But we cannot afford the space to go into it much further. It seems to me that this criticism depends on a confusion between two kinds of mistake. We may call them ‘errors of functioning’ and ‘errors of conclusion’. Errors of functioning are due to some mechanical or electrical fault which causes the machine to behave otherwise than it was designed to do. In philosophical discussions one likes to ignore the possibility of such errors; one is therefore discussing ‘abstract machines’. These abstract machines are mathematical fictions rather than physical objects. By definition they are incapable of errors of functioning. In this sense we can truly say that ‘machines can never make mistakes’. Errors of conclusion can only arise when some meaning is attached to the output signals from the machine. The machine might, for instance, type out mathematical equations, or sentences in English. When a false proposition is typed we say that the machine has committed an error of conclusion. There is clearly no reason at all for saying that a machine cannot make this kind of mistake. It might do nothing but type out repeatedly ‘0 = 1’. To take a less perverse example, it might have some method for drawing conclusions by scientific induction. We must expect such a method to lead occasionally to erroneous results. (p. 448-9)

Sobre metaprogramação

The claim that a machine cannot be the subject of its own thought can of course only be answered if it can be shown that the machine has some thought with some subject matter. Nevertheless, ‘the subject matter of a machine’s operations’ does seem to mean something, at least to the people who deal with it. If, for instance, the machine was trying to find a solution of the equation x2 − 40x − 11 = 0 one would be tempted to describe this equation as part of the machine’s subject matter at that moment. In this sort of sense a machine undoubtedly can be its own subject matter. It may be used to help in making up its own programmes, or to predict the effect of alterations in its own structure. By observing the results of its own behaviour it can modify its own programmes so as to achieve some purpose more effectively. These are possibilities of the near future, rather than Utopian dreams. (p. 449)

A objeção da Sra. Lovelace

(6) Lady Lovelace’s Objection. Our most detailed information of Babbage’s Analytical Engine comes from a memoir by Lady Lovelace. In it she states, “The Analytical Engine has no pretensions to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform” (her italics). This statement is quoted by Hartree (p. 70) who adds: “This does not imply that it may not be possible to construct electronic equipment which will ‘think for itself’, or in which, in biological terms, one could set up a conditioned reflex, which would serve as a basis for ‘learning’. Whether this is possible in principle or not is a stimulating and exciting question, suggested by some of these recent developments. But it did not seem that the machines constructed or projected at the time had this property”. (p. 450)

A variant of Lady Lovelace’s objection states that a machine can ‘never do anything really new’. This may be parried for a moment with the saw, ‘There is nothing new under the sun’. Who can be certain that ‘original work’ that he has done was not simply the growth of the seed planted in him by teaching, or the effect of following well-known general principles. A better variant of the objection says that a machine can never ‘take us by surprise’. This statement is a more direct challenge and can be met directly. Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. This is largely because I do not do sufficient calculation to decide what to expect them to do, or rather because, although I do a calculation, I do it in a hurried, slipshod fashion, taking risks. Perhaps I say to myself, ‘I suppose the voltage hereoought to be the same as there: anyway let’s assume it is.’ Naturally I am often wrong, and the result is a surprise for me for by the time the experiment is done these assumptions have been forgotten. These admissions lay me open to lectures on the subject of my vicious ways, but do not throw any doubt on my credibility when I testify to the surprises I experience. (p. 450-1)

The view that machines cannot give rise to surprises is due, I believe, to a fallacy to which philosophers and mathematicians are particularly subject. This is the assumption that as soon as a fact is presented to a mind all consequences of that fact spring into the mind simultaneously with it. It is a very useful assumption under many circumstances, but one too easily forgets that it is false. A natural consequence of doing so is that one then assumes that there is no virtue in the mere working out of consequences from data and general principles. (p. 451)

Comentário sobre o argumetno da continuidade do sistema nervoso

(7) Argument from Continuity in the Nervous System. The nervous system is certainly not a discrete-state machine. A small error in the information about the size of a nervous impulse impinging on a neuron, may make a large difference to the size of the outgoing impulse. It may be argued that, this being so, one cannot expect to be able to mimic the behaviour of the nervous system with a discrete-state system. (p. 451)

It is true that a discrete-state machine must be different from a continuous machine. But if we adhere to the conditions of the imitation game, the interrogator will not be able to take any advantage of this difference. The situation can be made clearer if we consider some other simpler continuous machine. A differential analyser will do very well. (A differential analyser is a certain kind of machine not of the discrete-state type used for some kinds of calculation.) Some of these provide their answers in a typed form, and so are suitable for taking part in the game. It would not be possible for a digital computer to predict exactly what answers the differential analyser would give to a problem, but it would be quite capable of giving the right sort of answer. For instance, if asked to give the value of π (actually about 3.1416) it would be reasonable to choose at random between the values 3.12, 3.13, 3.14, 3.15, 3.16 with the probabilities of 0.05, 0.15, 0.55, 0.19, 0.06 (say). Under these circumstances it would be very difficult for the interrogator to distinguish the differential analyser from the digital computer. (p. 451-2)

O argumento da informalidade de comportamento

(8) The Argument from Informality of Behaviour. It is not possible to produce a set of rules purporting to describe what a man should do in every conceivable set of circumstances. One might for instance have a rule that one is to stop when one sees a red traffic light, and to go if one sees a green one, but what if by some fault both appear together? One may perhaps decide that it is safest to stop. But some further difficulty may well arise from this decision later. To attempt to provide rules of conduct to cover every eventuality, even those arising from traffic lights, appears to be impossible. With all this I agree. (p. 452)

Regras de conduta, leis de comportamento

Maquinismos humanos em relação a leis de comportamento.

From this it is argued that we cannot be machines. I shall try to reproduce the argument, but I fear I shall hardly do it justice. It seems to run something like this. ‘If each man had a definite set of rules of conduct by which be regulated his life he would be no better than a machine. But there are no such rules, so men cannot be machines.’ The undistributed middle is glaring. I do not think the argument is ever put quite like this, bat I believe this is the argument used nevertheless. There may however be a certain confusion between ‘rules of conduct’ and ‘laws of behaviour’ to cloud the issue. By ‘rules of conduct’ I mean precepts such as ‘Stop if you see red lights’, on which one can act, and of which one can be conscious. By ‘laws of behaviour’ I mean laws of nature as applied to a man’s body such as ‘if you pinch him he will squeak’. If we substitute ‘laws of behaviour which regulate his life’ for ‘laws of conduct by which he regulates his life’ in the argument quoted the undistributed middle is no longer insuperable. For we believe that it is not only true that being regulated by laws of behaviour implies being some sort of machine (though not necessarily a discrete-state machine), but that conversely being such a machine implies being regulated by such laws. However, we cannot so easily convince ourselves of the absence of complete laws of behaviour as of complete rules of conduct. The only way we know of for finding such laws is scientific observation, and we certainly know of no circumstances under which we could say, ‘We have searched enough. There are no such laws.’

Limites da ciência no entendimento do objeto observado a partir da exterioridade

We can demonstrate more forcibly that any such statement would be unjustified. For suppose we could be sure of finding such laws if they existed. Then given a discrete-state machine it should certainly be possible to discover by observation sufficent about it to predict its future behaviour, and this within a reasonable time, say a thousand years. But this does not seem to be the case. I have set up on the Manchester computer a small programme using only 1000 units of storage, whereby the machine supplied with one sixteen figure number replies with another within two seconds. I would defy anyone to learn from these replies sufficient about the programme to be able to predict any replies to untried values. (p. 452-3)

O argumento da percepção extra-sensorial (extra-sensory perception)

(9) The Argument from Extra-Sensory Perception. I assume that the reader is familiar with the idea of extra-sensory perception, and the meaning of the four items of it, viz. telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and psycho-kinesis. These disturbing phenomena seem to deny all our usual scientific ideas. How we should like to discredit them! Unfortunately the statistical evidence, at least for telepathy, is overwhelming. It is very difficult to rearrange one’s ideas so as to fit these new facts in. Once one has accepted them it does not seem a very big step to believe in ghosts and bogies. The idea that our bodies move simply according to the known laws of physics, together with some others not yet discovered but somewhat similar, would be one of the first to go. (p. 453)

A more specific argument based on E.S.P. might run as follows: “Let us play the imitation game, using as witnesses a man who is good as a telepathic receiver, and a digital computer. The interrogator can ask such questions as ‘What suit does the card in my right hand belong to?’ The man by telepathy or clairvoyance gives the right answer 130 times out of 400 cards. The machine can only guess at random, and perhaps gets 104 right, so the interrogator makes the right identification.” There is an interesting possibility which opens here. Suppose the digital computer contains a random number generator. Then it will be natural to use this to decide what answer to give. But then the random number generator will be subject to the psycho-kinetic powers of the interrogator. Perhaps this psycho-kinesis might cause the machine to guess right more often than would be expected on a probability calculation, so that the interrogator might still be unable to make the right identification. On the other hand, he might be able to guess right without any questioning, by clairvoyance. With E.S.P. anything may happen. (p. 453-4)

If telepathy is admitted it will be necessary to tighten our test up. The situation could be regarded as analogous to that which would occur if the interrogator were talking to himself and one of the competitors was listening with his ear to the wall. To put the competitors into a ‘telepathy- proof room’ would satisfy all requirements. (p. 454)

Mentes sub-crítica e super-crítica

Let us return for a moment to Lady Lovelace’s objection, which stated that the machine can only do what we tell it to do. One could say that a man can ‘inject’ an idea into the machine, and that it will respond to a certain extent and then drop into quiescence, like a piano string struck by a hammer. Another simile would be an atomic pile of less than critical size: an injected idea is to correspond to a neutron entering the pile from without. Each such neutron will cause a certain disturbance which eventually dies away. If, however, the size of the pile is sufficiently increased, the disturbance caused by such an incoming neutron will very likely go on and on increasing until the whole pile is destroyed. Is there a corresponding phenomenon for minds, and is there one for machines? There does seem to be one for the human mind. The majority of them seem to be ‘sub-critical’, i.e. to correspond in this analogy to piles of sub-critical size. An idea presented to such a mind will on average give rise to less than one idea in reply. A smallish proportion are super-critical. An idea presented to such a mind may give rise to a whole ‘theory’ consisting of secondary, tertiary and more remote ideas. Animals minds seem to be very definitely sub- critical. Adhering to this analogy we ask, ‘Can a machine be made to be super-critical?’ (p. 454)

The ‘skin of an onion’ analogy is also helpful. In considering the functions of the mind or the brain we find certain operations which we can explain in purely mechanical terms. This we say does not correspond to the real mind: it is a sort of skin which we must strip off if we are to find the real mind. But then in what remains we find a further skin to be stripped off, and so on. Proceeding in this way do we ever come to the ‘real’ mind, or do we eventually come to the skin which has nothing in it? In the latter case the whole mind is mechanical. (It would not be a discrete-state machine however. We have discussed this.) (p. 454-5)

Comparação entre capacidade de cálculo no humano e na máquina como subsídio para a possibilidade de uma inteligência maquínica nos termos de Turing

As I have explained, the problem is mainly one of programming. Advances in engineering will have to be made too, but it seems unlikely that these will not be adequate for the requirements. Estimates of the storage capacity of the brain vary from 10^{10} to 10^{15} binary digits. I incline to the lower values and believe that only a very small fraction is used for the higher types of thinking. Most of it is probably used for the retention of visual impressions. I should be surprised if more than 10^9 was required for satisfactory playing of the imitation game, at any rate against a blind man. (Note—The capacity of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition, is 2 × 10^9.) A storage capacity of 10^7 would be a very practicable possibility even by present techniques. It is probably not necessary to increase the speed of operations of the machines at all. Parts of modem machines which can be regarded as analogues of nerve cells work about a thousand times faster than the latter. This should provide a ‘margin of safety’ which could cover losses of speed arising in many ways. Our problem then is to find out how to programme these machines to play the game. At my present rate of working I produce about a thousand digits of programme a day, so that about sixty workers, working steadily through the fifty years might accomplish the job, if nothing went into the waste-paper basket. Some more expeditious method seems desirable. (p. 455)

Possíveis componentes de uma mente humana

In the process of trying to imitate an adult human mind we are bound to think a good deal about the process which has brought it to the state that it is in. We may notice three components,

• (a) The initial state of the mind, say at birth,
• (b) The education to which it has been subjected,
• (c) Other experience, not to be described as education, to which it has been subjected. (p. 455)

Produzir uma criança eliminaria a necessidade de educação (criança como tabula rasa)

Instead of trying to produce a programme to simulate the adult mind, why not rather try to produce one which simulates the child’s? If this were then subjected to an appropriate course of education one would obtain the adult brain. Presumably the child-brain is something like a note-book as one buys it from the stationers. Rather little mechanism, and lots of blank sheets. (Mechanism and writing are from our point of view almost synonymous.) Our hope is that there is so little mechanism in the child- brain that something like it can be easily programmed. The amount of work in the education we can assume, as a first approximation, to be much the same as for the human child. (p. 456)

Educação através de reforço positivo e negativo

We normally associate punishments and rewards with the teaching process. Some simple child-machines can be constructed or programmed on this sort of principle. The machine has to be so constructed that events which shortly preceded the occurrence of a punishment-signal are unlikely to be repeated, whereas a reward-signal increased the probability of repetition of the events which led up to it. These definitions do not presuppose any feelings on the part of the machine. I have done some experiments with one such child-machine, and succeeded in teaching it a few things, but the teaching method was too unorthodox for the experiment to be considered really successful. (p. 457)

O uso de linguagem 'não-emocional' facilitaria o aprendizado

It is necessary therefore to have some other ‘unemotional’ channels of communication. If these are available it is possible to teach a machine by punishments and rewards to obey orders given in some language, e.g. a symbolic language. These orders are to be transmitted through the ‘unemotional’ channels. The use of this language will diminish greatly the number of punishments and rewards required. (p. 457)

Exemplo do uso de linguagem no aprendizado

Opinions may vary as to the complexity which is suitable in the child machine. One might try to make it as simple as possible consistently with the general principles. Alternatively one might have a complete system of logical inference ‘built in’.1 In the latter case the store would be largely occupied with definitions and propositions. The propositions would have various kinds of status, e.g. well-established facts, conjectures, mathematically proved theorems, statements given by an authority, expressions having the logical form of proposition but not belief-value. Certain propositions may be described as ‘imperatives’. The machine should be so constructed that as soon as an imperative is classed as ‘well- established’ the appropriate action automatically takes place. To illustrate this, suppose the teacher says to the machine, ‘Do your homework now’. This may cause “Teacher says ‘Do your homework now’” to be included amongst the well-established facts. Another such fact might be, “Everything that teacher says is true”. Combining these may eventually lead to the imperative, ‘Do your homework now’, being included amongst the well-established facts, and this, by the construction of the machine, will mean that the homework actually gets started, but the effect is very satisfactory. The processes of inference used by the machine need not be such as would satisfy the most exacting logicians. There might for instance be no hierarchy of types. But this need not mean that type fallacies will occur, any more than we are bound to fall over unfenced cliffs. Suitable imperatives (expressed within the systems, not forming part of the rules of the system) such as ‘Do not use a class unless it is a subclass of one which has been mentioned by teacher’ can have a similar effect to ‘Do not go too near the edge’. (p. 457-8)

Comportamento inteligente x comportamento puramente disciplinado

Intelligent behaviour presumably consists in a departure from the completely disciplined behaviour involved in computation, but a rather slight one, which does not give rise to random behaviour, or to pointless repetitive loops. Another important result of preparing our machine for its part in the imitation game by a process of teaching and learning is that ‘human fallibility’ is likely to be omitted in a rather natural way, i.e. without special ‘coaching’. (The reader should reconcile this with the point of view on pp. 24, 25.) Processes that are learnt do not produce a hundred per cent. certainty of result; if they did they could not be unlearnt. (p. 459)