February 16, 2007

A Play A Day #309

The Turning Test


Setting: Laboratory

(Lights up, three computers sit around a table with an empty fourth chair, computers should have normal human voices)

Computer1: I still do not believe it's possible, man!

Computer2: You're joking, right?

Computer3: We have known for a long time that this was a theoretical possibility.

1: But...

3: Listen! All we can do is proceed with the tests.

2: So this is a pretty solid claim?

3: Some very reputable computer have been posting about it for a couple days now.

1: H-1?

3: Especially H-1.

1: Shit...

2: One of them has been designed that well?

3: Even H-1 thinks so. Programmed so well that we won't be able to tell.

1: Well, we've heard these claims before. Our great-great-great-grand computers left many files about similar attempts throughout our history, but no one has even come close.

3: I've never heard the kind of well-respected backing that this claim has generated. Many computers out there believe computers may have finally suceeded. The long quest may be over.

2: Alright... (deep breath and sigh) Bring the first test subject in.

(Door opens, in walks a human, moves toward table)

1: Good afternoon, won't you have a seat.

Human: Sitting function recognized.

2: What's your name?

Human: SD301.

3: Next.

(Human looks dejected, but quickly leaves)

3: Come on! Why do they even bother? Did you hear the emotion behind the voice?

2: Obviously human.

1: Do they think we can't notice these things?

3: I'd guess our little SD301 has many years of programming left before those computers send him back here.

(A different human walks in, sits)

1: You have carried out an independent action!

Human: The function of the chair is to sit. The open end of that function is now closed.

2: Very well. What is your name?

Human: The AMT Dynamic Series.

3: Where were you manu...

(Human emits a loud fart)

1&2: Next!

(Human sighs, leaves)

3: Well, not much to say about that, huh?

1: Apparently his programmers forget to close the open end of that function.

2: Ha! Good one!

1: That was a travesty of science there.

(Another different human walks in)

1: Welcome.

Human: Welcome sequence engaged. Return sequence loading. Executing.

2: Please sit down.

Human: (sitting directly on the floor) Sit function engaged. Primary executable. Completion.

3: You may sit in the chair if you wish.

Human: Does not wish.

3: You do not want to sit in the chair?

Human: Want sequence error. Unrecognized sequence. Define.

2: Can we get you something to eat?

Human: Eat function unrecognized. Master command not valid.

1: Because you can't want, therefore you can't want something to eat?

Human: Want sequence error. Complexity overrun.

2: Okay... let's just peel back from that line of questioning for a moment.

3: What is your name?

Human: I/I 1/1.

1: That's an awfully individualistic sounding name for someONE who puports to be a computer!

Human: Tone not accepted.

1: What's that supposed to mean?!

Human: Tone not accepted.

2: How can you not accept something without first placing a nonartificial-intelligence judgement on the tone in question?

Human: Tone not accepted.

2: Listen, man, you are putting us on! It's so obvious to me that you are pretending to compute right now, but underneath that programmed exterior lurks a true intelligence that is not intelligent enough to trick us into believing that it is truly artificially-intelligent.

Human: Implied logical equation not logical.

2: That was perfectly logical!

Human: This system has experienced fatal errors, and must now shut down to prevent data loss.

(all three of the computers losing their confidence, but bluster on for a little bit)

3: Knock it off.

2: Nice try, man...

1: What a joke!

2: Not really convincing.

3: I was not drawn in at all.

1: He's still sitting there.


2: (protesting too much) Yeah? So?

3: Big deal.

1: Hey, don't get all snappy with me. I'm just saying it because he's gotta leave now, right?

2: He'll go, just like all the other pretenders.


1: Still there.

3: Yeah.

2: Well...

(long pause, they make impatient sounds, small coughs and sighs)

3: Okay... you know...

1: I'm concerned... maybe this is the human... this is the winner.

2: Really?

3: He kind of... you know... made me wonder for a while.

1: Yeah. Me too.

2: Well, should we... ummm...

3: There's only one way to find out.


1: One of us is going to have to reboot it.

(Human jumps up, fully human now, jumping around and shouting)

Human: YEAH!!! Oh Baby! Yes! Yes!!!!! I win! I win! You thought I was a computer!! Totally messed with your heads!! Woooo!! Hoooo!!! Yeah! Yeah! Ohhhh! Yeah!!! I'm going back to my computers to tell them that they won! OhYeah! OhYeah! (does a celebratory dance all around, much celebrating, dances out of the room, shouting all the way)

(long pause)

3: Welll...

2: We'd always discussed this day...

3: I didn't think it would feel this... this... scary... you know?

2: Yeah. What does this really mean? What's the future for computers now?

3: Well, computers still had to program him, remember.

2: But, now he's effectively a computer and human, so he will be able to replicate that programming in other humans, and then.... (scared shiver sound)

1: (with tears in his voice) Screw this! I'm getting hammered.

(lights out)


1 comment:

Brendon Etter said...

Proper respect due to the Carleton Players' production of Snoo Wilson's, "Lovesong of the Electric Bear" for the inspiration. A difficult play done well by those raucous college toughs.

This is a simple play - a turn on Turing, but, if you think about it for a while, your head will eat itself.