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A Turing test is a test performed to determine a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior. The basic concept behind the test is that if a human judge is engaged in a natural language conversation with a computer where he cannot reliably distinguish machine from human, the machine passes the test. Responses from both participants in the conversation are received in the form of a text-only channel. This test was introduced by Alan Turing in 1950.
The Turing test is used to measure a machine's ability to think and is an important concept in the philosophy of artificial intelligence. A machine’s success at thinking can be quantified by the likelihood that a human will misidentify it as a human subject.
A computer's ability to think is determined through an imitation game. In this game, there are three players A, B and C. Player A is a man, B a woman and C is of either sex. C cannot see A and B, and communicates with the others through written notes. Player C determines which of the others is a man and which is a woman by asking a series of questions. Player A tricks the interrogator into making the wrong decision, while B attempts to guide C toward the right path.
In the original imitation game test, Turing proposes A to be a computer. The computer pretends to be a woman and tricks the interrogator into making an incorrect evaluation. The machine's success is determined by comparing the outcome of the game when A is a computer against when A is a man. If the interrogator goes wrong when playing the game between man and woman, the computer is assessed to be intelligent.
There are some variations on the interpretation of how a Turing test should be performed but the basic premise is whether a human judge can determine whether he is talking to a machine or another human.