The other day I was thinking about the Turing test and its implications. I like the Turing test more for its value as a thought experiment than has a real goal for Artificial Intelligence. My problem with it is that, short of synthesizing or emulating a human being, the only way to pass it is through deception. I find it perfectly conceivable that a high level, generic AI can be built that is not human-like. That sort of AI would not pass the Turing test. An AI could be more intelligent than any human alive and still not pass the Turing test, because it would lack the scope of experiences of human beings. It could be argued that such an high level AI could take the challenge of passing the test as a game, but it would still be a game of deception. I find that to be a rather contrived and inelegant goal.
Still I like to think about the Turing test, because it makes us question what we mean by intelligence. So I think of possible interesting modifications to the test. One thing I think about is simplifying the interface, so that human beings have less of an advantage. I imagine this interface where the only thing you see is a light that can be on or off. You have a button that activates the light of your interlocutor. The One Bit Turing Test. And we can make the light look like HAL 9000 for extra effect.
As it turns out, I found out after a bit of googling that the idea is not that original. User jutta at Halfbakery proposes a similar test, where you still have a text interface but you are only allowed to use 0s and 1s. I still like my version better, because of its temporal aspect. You can tap rhythms with the lights. You can try to be playful or annoying. You can try to see if you can get the entity on the other side to be bored or if you can get it to understand and start a game. In short, you would be looking for features that are likely universal to high level intelligences, instead of specific to us, the ultra-evolved apes.
Sure, it would still be possible to leak some broad human knowledge into the system. You could try to start tapping well known rhythms and see if the other side can complete them. But that seems way, way easier to achieve than to emulate all the knowledge, cultural context and emotional responses associated with natural languages.
How easy would it be to pass the one bit Turing test? What would you come up with to test for humanness on the other side?