Thursday, February 5, 2015

The next Turing test?

The next Turing test?  Computer-controlled robots are now writing letters with pens.  The motivation is direct mail marketers who want you to open their letter, instead of just throwing it in the recycle bin.  Here's an interesting piece on that topic.  This passage caught my eye:
But the other half the time I’m kind of cracked up by the fact that the most avid prosecutors of Alan Turing’s sly and audacious 1950 thought-experiment have been not philosophers or computer scientists or advanced A.I. labs but … marketers. The former folks have foundered for years on the difficulties of understanding the fractal contours of human consciousness. The latter just want you to open up their damn mail. Comprehending the mysteries of human thought and behavior is hard. Emulating it? Not so much! It’s partly why Turing’s test is so unsettling: Man, are we really that easy to copy?
Marketers (of all kinds, not just direct mail) have long been pushing hard on technologists.  Another classic example is animation – a lot of early computer-generated animations were done with marketing money.  The linked article doesn't mention it, but there's another odd-at-first-glance driver for a lot of high tech stuff: pornography.  Pornographers were amongst the first to see a way to earn money from online video, and they provided a lot of the funding for early video-on-computer development.  Actually, they're still doing so – only these days their focus is on 3D video technology, online.

No comments:

Post a Comment