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Mind and Artificial Intelligence: A Dialogue

by Rick Lewis

Artificial Intelligence is now in the news pretty much continuously. Mainly this is thanks to the controversial and disruptive impact of the new generation of AI chatbots, which for the first time are able to convincingly pass themselves off as human beings in text conversations. Inevitably, this brings to mind the brilliant and tragically-wronged mathematician, wartime code-breaker and computer pioneer Alan Turing (1912-54), whose portrait graces our front cover. He proposed that if someone putting questions to both a computer and a human could not tell from their written replies which was which, then we could assume that the computer was thinking. This so-called Turing Test has been a touchstone in many of the philosophical debates in recent years about whether machines could ever be conscious, and about how we can even tell if anything or anyone is conscious.