'Alan Turing was the first to foresee this possibility in 1950, when he published the seminal essay on artificial intelligence, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," which proposed a typewritten test to answer the question "Can machines think?" According to Jaron Lanier, the right way to understand the famous "Turing Test" is to understand that it "began in the mind of somebody who was very close to suicide." In other words, Alan Turing, who was born 100 years ago today, is the very embodiment of the philosophical issue we face as we integrate technology into every aspect of our lives, and the distinctionbetween man and machine grows ever slipperier. This rapid change to the human condition has been the source of great anxiety, as we start to call into question the very essence of what it is to be human. That is why Lanier says Turing's test amounted to "a flight from life, but also a defense of life." '
Sarah Kliff on the Big Questions
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