The Turing Test

Artificial intelligence has been researched for decades, and has resulted in many useful products, but still no system that is as intelligent as a human.

This activity explores just how we might recognize whether a system is truly “intelligent”. It involves reasoning about what it means to be intelligent, and even what makes us human.

The Turing Test


Activity description (PDF)

Related Resources

  • Computing Science Inside Workshop has an activity Predictive Text and Machine Learning which is a nice extension activity to this topic. Using the predictive text function available on most mobile phones as its primary example, this workshop gets pupils to think about how the phone (or computers in general) can appear to predict our behaviour. Working in teams pupils will simulate a predictive text messaging system and experience the process of machine learning first hand. Pupils will recognise the high initial workload on the user and will hopefully see the development of the machine’s knowledge through user feedback. The workshop will demonstrate the difficulty of enabling computers to acquire knowledge and identify current trends and applications that utilise machine learning techniques
    Note: You will need to apply and register in order to recieve the Workshop Pack for this activity.
  • Wikipedia: Turing Test
  • Wikipedia: Loebner Prize
  • Wikiversity: Artificial Intelligence
  • A programming language closely connected to AI is Lisp (List Processing). See Wikipedia: Lisp (Programming Language).
  • Video: The Turing Test as a game show. Artificial Intelligence Computer Algorithms compete with each other in a Game Show setting where they attempt to pass the ‘Turing Test’ and be accepted as human.The work represents a new paradigm in computer generated film making. The realistic 3D human-like digital actors were recorded in real-time directly from the display of a standard PC. The characters’ dialogue was created from text with a text to speech engine or automatically sychronized to real voice audio clips.
  • What is Artificial Intelligence? A paper explaining basic concepts.
  • Rise of the Machines. An article on young AI innovators.
  • Eliza: An AI simulation of a Psychotherapist. ELIZA has almost no intelligence whatsoever, only tricks like string substitution and canned responses based on keywords. Yet when the original ELIZA first appeared in the 60’s, some people actually mistook her for human. The illusion of intelligence works best, however, if you limit your conversation to talking about yourself and your life.
  • The Artificial Intelligence Project provides a web environment where school children of a wide range of ages can access information relevant to understanding Artificial Intelligence.
  • Generation 5: The Artificial Intelligence Repository explores the history of AI and tells us what to look forward to in the future. Interviews with important people in the field are included. Various essays present topics such as Introduction to Natural Language Processing, Neural Networks, and Robotics.
  • History of Artificial Intelligence site is dedicated to the history and the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence. The site explores applications of AI in medicine, dangerous jobs, entertainment, and in everyday use. It also has cool quizzes and links to other related sites. This site is also available in Deutsch.
  • Fun Trivia has a ‘Star Trek’ Artificial Intelligence Quiz. A favorite theme of science fiction is the concept of androids and artificial intelligence. ‘Star Trek’ has its share. Here’s a quiz about those episodes.
  • has a Artificial Intelligence Quiz.
  • 20Q has a AI Game where you let AI find out what you are thinking by asking you questions!
  • AIB Artificial Intelligence Being 2003 2.0 is an advanced downloadable chatterbot intended to be used as a desk assistant and for entertainment purposes.
  • The Artificial Intelligence Resource (AIR) offers you the opportunity to explore the fascinating field of Artificial Intelligence through interactive lessons, games, and demonstrations. Whether you are a professor of AI or a person who has never heard of “AI,” you have something to gain from this site. This site also contains a complete tutorial introduction to programming in Lisp and a E-LISP Shell where you can test your own programs written in Lisp.
  • The Royal Institution UK and Microsoft Research together have produced activities in Machine Learning for the classroom at locations below:
  • jabberwacky has bots that you can use for chatting at locations below. Some of these bots use video, voice and typing interfaces:
  • Online Medical Diagnosis & Symptoms Analysis : An expert system for disease diagnosis. An application of AI called an Expert System is a system that has great amounts of knowledge in a given field and is capable of behaving like a human expert.
    Please be aware that the above site requires you to sign up for membership and after verification, it is able diagnose an illness or disease from the symptoms that you specify.
  • A Turing Machine – In the Classic Style is a machine that embodies the classic look and feel of the machine presented in Turing’s paper. The heart of the turing machine is the read-write head. The read-write head transports the tape and positions cells of the tape appropriately. It can read a cell determining what, if any, symbol is written there. The machine works on, and knows about, only one cell at a time. The tape in my machine is a 1000’ roll of white 35mm film leader. The characters, ones and zeros, are written by the machine with a black dry erase marker.


Curriculum Links

Great Principles of Computer Science [info]
  • Automation, Evaluation
New Zealand Curriculum [info]
  • Technology Level 3: Technological systems
    • Understand that technological systems are represented by symbolic language tools and understand the role played by the “black box” in technological systems.