# A Practical Exercise in Design Detection

Recently I described a possible alternative Turing test that looks for certain non-person like behavior. I’d like to try it out and see if it is robust and has any value.

Here is some data represented in an ordinary control chart.

It’s easy to see there is a recognizable pattern here. The line follows a downward trajectory till about observation 16 then it meanders around till about observation 31. At which point it begins an upward track that lasts till almost the end of the chart.

The data in question is real and public but obsolete. I won’t say what it’s source is right now to avoid any bias in your attempts see if we can infer design. I can provide the actual numbers if you like.

The question before the house is. Is the clear overall pattern we see here a record of intention or does it have a “non-mental” cause?

Using the criteria discussed in my “poker” thread I would suggest looking for the following behaviors and excluding a mental cause if they are present.

1) large random spikes in the data
2) sudden changes in the overall pattern of the data that appear to be random
3) long periods of monotony
4) unexplained disjunction in the pattern.

I have some other tests we can look at as well .

What do you say design or not? Are you willing to venture a conjecture?

peace

## 575 thoughts on “A Practical Exercise in Design Detection”

1. fifthmonarchyman: If the German navy could have done that they certainly would have changed the way they were conducting themselves.

I think the Germans were aware the Allies were intending to sink their subs.

2. newton: Any example of any old person who is not a human?

I would say that each of us would have a different list of the beings we’d grant had minds.

Neanderthals should count
walto mentioned his cat at one point I think
Neil mentions cats and dogs generally
any intelligent aliens of course
Data from Star Trek would also probably qualify

The problem of other minds means that there is no way to definitively say that there are any other persons but me at all so naturally any list would be subjective.

The beauty of Turing tests is that they work no matter where we draw the line

peace

3. newton: I think the Germans were aware the Allies were intending to sink their subs.

Of course. That is not at question.

What was not known was if the pattern exhibited in the graph reflected any specific intention rather than the normal casualties of war.

For a more modern example

We know that Islamic terrorists intend to target the US but It would be of practical benefit to know if there is any specific intention to conduct attacks on September 11th.

peace

4. fifth,

I would say that each of us would have a different list of the beings we’d grant had minds.

By person I mean a conscious individual with a mind. I thought that was clear

peace

6. Acartia: For a graphical Turing test to be valid (and it has to be valid for it to be usefull) you have to inform the test subjects that the graph could represent a specific intentional behaviour (eg., voting numbers by year) or a specific non-intentional set of data (eg., diurnal temperatures).

stay tuned 😉

Newton suggested we use an intentional process and an algorithmic model to achieve the same goal

Acartia: It detects the difference between one human design and another human design. There is nothing non-designed about the output of a computer.

Ok that would be the one human design then, what would be the other?

peace

7. fifth,

By person I mean a conscious individual with a mind. I thought that was clear

No, not at all. Why be so sloppy, when it isn’t necessary? A word like ‘person’ already has established meanings.

8. Come on, fifth. While most people would agree that cats and dogs have minds, they are not persons under the standard meanings ot the word.

ETA: Particularly when it’s used in the phrase “any ole person”, as you did.

9. keiths: While most people would agree that cats and dogs have minds, they are not persons under the standard meanings ot the word.

That’s your opinion and you are entitled to it no matter how bigoted others might find it to be

Regardless of where you want to draw the line individually it does not matter as far as Turing tests are concerned.

peace

10. keiths: Pointing out the meaning of a word is not ‘bigoted’, fifth.

I’m not judging you 😉

like I said you can draw the line wherever you like. Others will have to decide if you are excluding beings who should be considered persons

peace

11. And my point stands: there’s no reason to be sloppy when using words that have established meanings.

12. keiths: there’s no reason to be sloppy when using words that have established meanings.

OK, but I’m using the established meaning of person as a self-conscious or rational being and mind as the seat of consciousness and reason.

peace

13. Acartia: Language, grammar and our rules for communication.

Suppose you designed an entirely new and different “language, grammar and rules for communication” could we recognize it as designed?

how?

peace

14. fifthmonarchyman: Of course. That is not at question.

Seemed like you said it was

What was not known was if the pattern exhibited in the graph reflected any specific intention rather than the normal casualties of war.

What specific intention is represented by the graph beyond sinking enemy subs?

For a more modern example

We know that Islamic terrorists intend to target the US but It would be of practical benefit to know if there is any specific intention to conduct attacks on September 11th.

So your system, after all your are assuming intent exists, can show the magnitude of a specific intent before an event actually occurs?

peace

15. newton: What specific intention is represented by the graph beyond sinking enemy subs?

I do assume intent exists. Though I can’t prove it (the problem of other minds).

What I want to know is if a particular process exhibits behavior we would associate with intent.

That is what Turing tests do

newton: can show the magnitude of a specific intent before an event actually occurs?

I’m my example I was talking about the intent to attack on a particular day as demonstrated by the number of times attacks occurred on a particular day.

I have no idea what you mean by the phrase “before an event actually occurs”. Perhaps you could elaborate a little

peace

16. fifthmonarchyman: Suppose you designed an entirely new and different“language, grammar and rules for communication” could we recognize it as designed?

Why would I do that? I find that the one that I currently use works quite well.

But that is not how the Turing test works. It tries to distinguish the language and communication we are familiar with, from a computer simulation of the same language and communication.

How would you design a graphical Turing test to do the same thing?

Before you spout on about it being possible, let me point out a couple facts. Human language, communication, idioms, syntax, etc. Involve thousands of variables that we, as humans, process when we are communicating. Thousands of variables that can provide clues to distinguish between real communication and a simulation.

Your graphical test, however, has a single dependent variable. The numbers do not work in your favour.

17. With all of your talk of Enigma and the sinking of German subs, you neglect to account for the fact that one side of this equation, the English, knew that the Germans would be looking for a pattern and used statistics and probability estimates to make the pattern less obvious. They intentionally let some sums alone and attacked others.

18. Acartia: But that is not how the Turing test works. It tries to distinguish the language and communication we are familiar with, from a computer simulation of the same language and communication.

How would you design a graphical Turing test to do the same thing?

Instead of language and communication it would try and distinguish person-like behavior from behavior originating in algorithmic process meant to solve the same problems

Acartia: Your graphical test, however, has a single dependent variable.

I’m not sure I follow.

Graphs often map multiple variables. The graph I posted mapped at least two, u boats built per month and u boats lost per month

Acartia: . They intentionally let some sums alone and attacked others.

In fact that was exactly the point I just made to Newton so I’m not sure how you can say I am neglecting it.

I don’t know but I would guess that this attempt to hide the fact that they had broken enigma is the reason that the trend in the graph is not more pronounced and obvious.

It’s that sort of nuance that I find interesting. That is part of the reason I chose the data that I did for this demonstration.

peace

19. Correct me if wrong, but didn’t the original Turing test suggestion take place over teletype terminals?

20. petrushka:
Correct me if wrong, but didn’t the original Turing test suggestion take place over teletype terminals?

You are correct and that brings up a good point. You can represent language numerically and display it as a line graph if you wish.

I know this because I’ve done it

peace

21. fifthmonarchyman: You are correct and that brings up a good point. You can represent language numerically and display it as a line graph if you wish.

I know this because I’ve done it

peace

I guess spelling would count in that case, so does the same sentence in different languages produce the same graph?

22. newton: does the same sentence in different languages produce the same graph?

No but the pattern might be similar

peace

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