Mechanical Tur[k]ing test

Eric Holloway is cleverly testing the innards of a commonly used text AI system. It’s advertised as not entirely mechanical, with hints that humans are proofreading it to avoid lawsuits. Holloway’s LONG conversation and persistent interrogation show that humans are deeply involved in the process. Perhaps the humans ARE the process. The humans are voluntarily ‘programmed’, following strict rules about truth and logic.

This is a situation Turing didn’t envision, but it’s actually far more natural and common than Turing’s binary choice. When you encounter a lawn mower or a printing press or a TV or a cash register, you know it’s not all machine or all human. It’s a machine doing fast or powerful things under the direct control and supervision of a live person.

The old Mechanical Turk pretended to be all machine, but in fact it was a natural combination of a smart human controlling levers. The GPT-3 intelligence is the same. Mirrors and shallow “machinery” prevent you from spotting the human chess player inside the box.

Holloway managed to see around the mirrors. GOOD WORK.

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