Shared Abductive Inference as a proxy Turing Test

This is the first part of a series of posts that are meant to help me think through the relationship between ID and Turing tests. Please be patient I will get to the controversial stuff soon enough but I want to lay some ground work first

Below is a quick refresher video explaining the three forms of inference for those interested.

It’s a given that abductive inference is the most subjective of the three and that is usually seen as a bad thing. I would like to argue that this subjectivity makes shared abductive inference a great proxy Turing test.

In the standard Turing test the examiner asks questions to see if he can distinguish the answers given by an Artificial Intelligence from those offered by a human. If he can’t do that he assumes that the AI is conscious (i.e has a mind).

What the examiner is really trying to get at is if the AI thinks like a human rather than like a computer.

What does it mean to think like me other than to share the same abductive inferences that I do?

Deduction is certainly not a uniquely human activity. Since the conclusion flows inevitably from the premises a simple algorithm could be written to come to a conclusion deductively no conscious thought is necessary. By the same token induction is also moving from premise to conclusion albeit in the other direction and with less certainty. Any computer could do that.

On the other hand abduction is the form of inference that is most human in that there is no logically compelling reason to chose one particular conclusion over another. Wildly different conclusions can be equally valid from a logical standpoint. We must subjectivity decide which conclusion is the best one.

Strangely enough more often than not we humans do come up with the same conclusion when presented with the same information at least for simple arguments.

For instance we see that it’s raining and conclude that it’s cloudy even though it sometimes rains when the sun is shining.

Or we might hear a rustling in the bushes and conclude that there is an animal there even though it could be the wind.

I think that if we encountered a nonhuman entity like an AI that almost never came to the same conclusions that we do in situations like this we would naturally conclude that it was not conscious.

By the same token if we came across an entity that often came to the similar conclusions when using abduction we would conclude there was a mind there behind it all.

Of course since that conclusion itself is based on abductive reasoning we could never be certain that our inference was correct.

What do you think about all this?

In my next post I will share a tangible example to show you how this might work in practice

Peace

PS As always I do apologize for the poor spelling and grammar

221 thoughts on “Shared Abductive Inference as a proxy Turing Test

  1. fifthmonarchyman:
    I don’t think “your prefrontal cortex” makes sense in newton’s view.
    I think he is saying that he is a particular prefrontal cortex. There is no separate entity that possess a prefrontal cortex.

    Exactly fifth, meaning can be subjective. The meaning you took from my writing is a subjective reflection of your experiences and beliefs.

  2. fifthmonarchyman: I’m not sure how a process can possess anything whatsoever.

    The process of arguing against ID or arguing against theism seems to possess a lot of baggage.

  3. Mung: The process of arguing against ID or arguing against theism seems to possess a lot of baggage.

    Ha. The defense of or attack on ANY philosophical position involves ‘baggage’ or, better, categorial commitments.

  4. walto: Ha. The defense of or attack on ANY philosophical position involves ‘baggage’ or, better, categorial commitments.

    I’m skeptical of categories. They carry the stench of ontos.

  5. Mung: I’m skeptical of categories. They carry the stench of ontos.

    Even though categories are “immaterial” ?

  6. newton: Exactly fifth, meaning can be subjective.

    I would say meaning is always subjective unless it’s held by God. Then it’s objective by definition.

    The meaning that we ascribe to something is objective to the extant that it corresponds to God’s objective meaning.

    newton: The meaning you took from my writing is a subjective reflection of your experiences and beliefs.

    That is always the case for all of us. There is absolutely no way around it AFAICT. Unless the objective meaning is revealed to us by an infallible and omnipotent God.

    peace

  7. If you believe in immaterial souls, do you assert that they can affect physical brains?

    To the extent that I believe in the soul I think of it and the body as more of a unity rather than a duality. So to me your question doesn’t really make sense.

    Thanks for the direct answers.

    Do you think the soul persists after death?

  8. Mung: Really? So Micheal Behe, for example, claims that IC systems cannot evolve? Or did you have someone else in mind.

    In his 1996 book, Micheal Behe wrote “An irreducibly complex biological system, if there is such a thing, would be a powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution.” I seem to remember him retreating from that claim more recently.
    If you want other examples, I point to any discussion of the topic on Uncommon Descent and to vjtorley’s original post “The question I’d really like to ask Ray Comfort”.

  9. Patrick: Do you think the soul persists after death?

    Right now I hold a position similar to what is known as annihilationism, though perhaps not quite the same, because I don’t believe that the soul of the unbeliever survives the death of the person so there’s nothing there to annihilate. Believer’s, otoh, are given a new body and thus survive death.

    I don’t think atheists are going to hell, obviously. I have doubts about what will happen to them after death but am open to the universal salvation view. I think the Bible has far more to say about this life and the way we live it than about any afterlife.

  10. Mung: Right now I hold a position similar to what is known as annihilationism, though perhaps not quite the same, because I don’t believe that the soul of the unbeliever survives the death of the person so there’s nothing there to annihilate. Believer’s, otoh, are given a new body and thus survive death.

    I don’t think atheists are going to hell, obviously. I have doubts about what will happen to them after death but am open to the universal salvation view. I think the Bible has far more to say about this life and the way we live it than about any afterlife.

    That’s far too nuanced and reasonable. I’ll have to go find another of your comments to respond to.

  11. Mung: Right now I hold a position similar to what is known as annihilationism

    We have a lot in common on this one.

    I hold to a form of conditional immortality and believe that if God chooses to grant continued existence to his mortal enemies it’s because that existence is a better thing than nonexistence.

    peace

  12. walto: Especially in Galway, I understand.

    That is close to correct

    Quote:
    ‘Heaven is Oxford lifted and placed in the middle of County Down’.
    end quote:

    C.S. Lewis

    peace

  13. walto:
    FWIW, I’d like to see County Galway, if that’s a possibility.

    Definitely worth a visit – Connemara especially.

  14. Patrick: I’ll have to go find another of your comments to respond to.

    I’ve posted a few doozies for you. Even ended up deleting one.

    I’m what is called a preterist. Which means I believe much if not all “Bible prophecy” has been fulfilled. Many texts people think of as applying to the afterlife I do not think apply to the afterlife. Among those are most or all of them from which people get their idea of hell.

    Of course if there’s no hell, what is it that atheists need to be saved from?

    1.) themselves
    2.) people who think atheists are going to hell.

    😉

  15. Mung: I’m what is called a preterist.

    Yet another thing we have in common. I’m an orthodox preterist as apposed to a “hyper” one.

    I do change my mind on eschatology almost every time the wind blows however. So I don’t trust my own judgement on the subject.

    peace

  16. Mung:
    . . .
    Of course if there’s no hell, what is it that atheists need to be saved from?

    1.) themselves
    2.) people who think atheists are going to hell.

    😉

    The latter being the most immediate threat.

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