- We’re referred to "Hofstadter (Douglas) - The Turing Test: A Coffeehouse Conversation" for the bulk of the authors’ discussion1 of this “remarkable and lucid article”.
- The point they pick up on here relates to Turing’s willingness to give credence to ESP and other parapsychological phenomena – Telekinesis, precognition and telepathy.
- Turing thought (or at least said he thought) the evidence was strong for ESP back in 1950, but H&D claim it to be certainly no stronger – and probably less so – 30 years later in 1980.
- They point out the enthusiasm of “some physicists” – who have been made fools of – but point out that most physicists and “certainly” most psychologists deny ESP in any form.
- They also point out the perplexity the substantial truth of parapsychological phenomena would cause for physics, given how well its theories have worked without taking such alleged phenomena into account.
- They are also not as sanguine as Turing seemed to be that minor tinkering with the laws of physics might accommodate parapsychological phenomena.
- I’m not sure why they are so keen to rubbish this area (right though they may be) given that Turing thought that it could be finessed as far as the Turing test is concerned. In any case, the claims for ESP are minor – but allegedly statistically significant – correlations, which can be modelled.
- For which the text is by Hofstadter, but the Reflections are by Dennett.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020