Misreading the Turing Test, or stumbling around in Blind Alleys

In the course material for my undergrad Artificial intelligence course there is an extract from a paper by Dr Blay Whitby about Turing's purpose for the Imitation Game paper;

"The paper was almost immediately read as providing an operational definition of intelligence [as] witnessed by the change from the label, ‘imitation game’ to ‘Turing Test’ by commentators. Turing himself was always careful to refer to ‘the game’. The suggestion that it might be some sort of test involves an important extension of Turing’s claims."  (Whitby, 1997)

However if you read the CMI paper in which Turing describes the Imitation Game; he repeatedly makes reference to the idea of the Imitation Game as a test in a reasonably unambiguous way;

"I am sure that Professor Jefferson does not wish to adopt the extreme and solipsist point of view. Probably he would be quite willing to accept the imitation game as a test." (Turing, 1950)
"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 machine thinks is to be the machine and to feel oneself thinking" (Turing, 1950)
"In short then, I think that most of those who support the argument from consciousness could be persuaded to abandon it rather than be forced into the solipsist position. They will then probably be willing to accept our test." (Turing, 1950)
"If telepathy is admitted it will be necessary to tighten our test up." (Turing, 1950)

So I am quite surprised by the denial that Turing proposed the Imitation Game as a Test to answer the original "Can machines think?" question;

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?"


Yes, I am obsessed with Blay Whitby. I just got over my obsession with John Searle. The Chinese Room argument almost gave me an ulcer.

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