“Just ask Jimmy [North Side's robot] if Ayame [North Side's nominal adult human] can put her little finger all the way up her nose.” This line concludes Robert French’s reaction to my letter (which was in reaction to his article Moving Beyond the Turing Test in Dec. 2012). My letter and his reaction to it were published in the respected Communications of ACM, March 2013
Don’t Give up On the Turing Test – Communications of the ACM Vol.56 No.03
His point is that intelligent robots, capable of meaningful interaction with humans, do not have to be Turing-Test indistinguishable from humans. It depends what their job is. If their job is to act as a companion to an elderly person, or entertain and educate at the same time (a robotic toy), they will be a lot more effective in their jobs if they act more like an intelligent being, rather than a machine. The Bot Colony world and game, with its fifth law of robotics (“Do as people do.”) would not exist if one succumbed to Robert French’s negativism. To quote his suggestion (about machines answering out-of-bounds questions): “Don’t try; accept that machines will not be able to answer them and move on.” One wonders if he’s ever heard about entertainment.
French’s question CAN be answered if the 3D environment is accessible to reasoning, and this is how our technology works. It is a matter of colliding the nostril model with the little finger model. The question, by the way, is ambiguous, since ‘all the way’ can apply to the nostril or the little finger. If we take the minimum, we get this
This integration of reasoning with 3D was discussed in this paper
Bot Colony – a Video Game Featuring Intelligent Language-Based Interaction with the Characters
Depending on the modeling fidelity, Mr. French’s questions could be generalized to other body cavities as well.
In the meantime, we’re excited about the Vision version of Bot Colony going to closed-Beta in April. Stay tuned!