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Plastic machines: behavioural diversity and the Turing test

Michael Wheeler (Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 4 May 2010




The purpose of this paper is to consider Turing's test and his objections to the idea that a machine might eventually pass it. Discusses behavioural diversity in relation to the Turing test.


The paper argues that this objection cannot be dismissed easily, taking the view that the diversity exhibited by human behaviour is characterised by a kind of context‐sensitive adaptive plasticity. Draws on Descartes' arguments and artificial intelligence to interpret the Turing test.


It is found that the distinctive context‐sensitive adaptive plasticity of human behaviour explains why the Turing test is such a stringent test for the presence of thought and why it is much harder to pass than Turing himself may have realised.


This paper provides an unique view of Turing's test that will assist researchers in assessing its value and its goals.



Wheeler, M. (2010), "Plastic machines: behavioural diversity and the Turing test", Kybernetes, Vol. 39 No. 3, pp. 466-480.



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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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