1. Subscribermoonbus
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    05 Jul '15 12:16
    Hypothesis: Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that a certain very chatty forum persona often presented views considerably at variance with accepted knowledge about the natural world in general and scientific procedures specifically (such as the reliability of carbon- and argon-dating of fossils, red-shift of light traveling to Earth from distance object in space, and so on), and that the views expressed were of such a nature that some people might feel compelled to respond. One might suspect one of the following to be the case:

    a. A real person who actually believes the ludicrous things he posts and links to is behind the persona.
    b. A real person who does not believe the ludicrous things he posts and links to is behind the persona (and is therefore a troll).
    c. An algorithm is behind the persona and those who respond to ‘him’ are unwitting Turing testers. c’: Has the algorithm passed the Turing test?
    d. An alien intelligence is behind the persona and is using that persona to probe our intelligence (purpose unknown).

    How could these various scenarios be tested and some or all of them either verified or excluded?
  2. Cape Town
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    05 Jul '15 13:201 edit
    Originally posted by moonbus
    How could these various scenarios be tested and some or all of them either verified or excluded?
    It takes a real person to be that dumb. If the poster in question is a computer, then it passes the Turning test.
    I would expect a computer attempting to pass the Turing test to appear a lot more intelligent.
    I think you have omitted the possibility of
    1. a A real person who doesn't believe the ludicrous things be posts, but posts them for religious reasons - but is not a troll.
  3. Standard memberJerryH
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    05 Jul '15 17:01
    Originally posted by moonbus

    c. An algorithm is behind the persona and those who respond to ‘him’ are unwitting Turing testers. c’: Has the algorithm passed the Turing test?


    How could these various scenarios be tested and some or all of them either verified or excluded?
    Do you have to prove that Algo is a rithm or is suspicion of Algo enough?
  4. Subscribermoonbus
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    05 Jul '15 17:57
    Originally posted by JerryH
    Do you have to prove that Algo is a rithm or is suspicion of Algo enough?
    There are diagnostic tools which can monitor the internal workings of a computer program. Absolute certainty would be achieved if such tools monitored a machine's output and if the same result were obtained given the same input every time. That would be typical of machine behavior.

    Just by reading the text at a forum, I doubt this level of certainty could be achieved.
  5. Cape Town
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    05 Jul '15 19:20
    Originally posted by moonbus
    Absolute certainty would be achieved if such tools monitored a machine's output and if the same result were obtained given the same input every time. That would be typical of machine behavior.
    But not necessarily the behavior you would expect of a program designed to try and pass the Turing test.
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    05 Jul '15 19:36
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    It takes a real person to be that dumb. If the poster in question is a computer, then it passes the Turning test.
    I would expect a computer attempting to pass the Turing test to appear a lot more intelligent.
    I think you have omitted the possibility of
    1. a A real person who doesn't believe the ludicrous things be posts, but posts them for religious reasons - but is not a troll.
    While I agree with your first point, I can't think of any real religion which expects its believers to post rubbish to the internet they don't themselves believe in. Several - including the more, erm, USAnian sects of Christianity - that expect them to believe in things I consider rubbish, either for scientific or for religious reasons (or both!), but none that expect them to effectively troll the world.
    I can think of some pseudo-religions which expect or even require such things of their followers; of the two most famous ones, one is a parody religion, not a real one, and the other isn't a religion at all but a pyramid scheme. But those don't count and I don't believe the entity under discussion has the brains to follow those anyway.
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    05 Jul '15 20:434 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    It takes a real person to be that dumb.
    Isn't that an irony! It may be just as hard to make a computer as stupid and delusional as the worst human intellects as it is to make a computer as smart as the best human intellects. At least your pocket calculator isn't arrogantly condescendingly delusional and doesn't deny scientific facts -making it less stupid than some people.
  8. Subscribermoonbus
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    05 Jul '15 20:51
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    But not necessarily the behavior you would expect of a program designed to try and pass the Turing test.
    Yes, good point. Trying to beat the world's chess champion required a straight-forward board-strategy, when everyone knew it was 'man vs. machine'; trying to fool a human into thinking he's conversing with another a human is another kettle of fish.
  9. Subscribermoonbus
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    05 Jul '15 20:54
    Originally posted by humy
    Isn't that an irony! It may be just as hard to make a computer as stupid and delusional as the worst human intellects as it is to make a computer as smart as the best human intellects. At least your pocket calculator isn't arrogantly condescendingly delusional and doesn't deny scientific facts -making it less stupid than some people.
    It takes a real person to be that obnoxious.
  10. Cape Town
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    05 Jul '15 21:02
    Originally posted by Shallow Blue
    While I agree with your first point, I can't think of any real religion which expects its believers to post rubbish to the internet they don't themselves believe in.
    I wasn't saying his religion expects it of him, I was saying he does it because of his religion. Not quite the same thing.

    Several - including the more, erm, USAnian sects of Christianity - that expect them to believe in things I consider rubbish, either for scientific or for religious reasons (or both!), but none that expect them to effectively troll the world.
    Many sects preach rubbish, it doesn't mean they actually believe it. I find most theists only believe about half or less of what they claim to believe.
  11. Standard memberJerryH
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    06 Jul '15 06:32
    Originally posted by moonbus
    It takes a real person to be that obnoxious.
    I agree and at the heart of that obnoxiousness is the most odious of dishonesties, misunderstanding for effect. Let's not teach this to machines please.
  12. Subscribermoonbus
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    06 Jul '15 07:51
    Originally posted by JerryH
    I agree and at the heart of that obnoxiousness is the most odious of dishonesties, misunderstanding for effect. Let's not teach this to machines please.
    The ability to hold contradictory beliefs at the same time is a specially human characteristic. Remember Arthur C. Clark's 2001? The computer HAL goes psychotic because it can't process the duplicity the humans had programmed into it.
  13. Subscribermoonbus
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    06 Jul '15 08:06
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Several - including the more, erm, USAnian sects of Christianity - that expect them to believe in things I consider rubbish, either for scientific or for religious reasons (or both!), but none that expect them to effectively troll the world.
    Many sects preach rubbish, it doesn't mean they actually believe it. I find most theists only believe about half or less of what they claim to believe.[/b]
    Were you thinking of those 'rapture' cults which claim space aliens are coming to beam up cult members on a certain date? Just make sure to donate your entire worldly assets to the cult leader before Day X, right?
  14. Cape Town
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    06 Jul '15 09:12
    Originally posted by moonbus
    Were you thinking of those 'rapture' cults which claim space aliens are coming to beam up cult members on a certain date? Just make sure to donate your entire worldly assets to the cult leader before Day X, right?
    No, I was thinking about most mainstream religions. If you question the members of almost any religion, they will at first say they believe one thing, but on further questioning either back down or admit that they don't really know. Quite often theists will say something on the grounds that it 'might be true' even if they themselves think it highly unlikely that it is true. Of course this sort of behaviour is hardly restricted to theism. We see the same sort of thing in politics and other areas of life. Many people are mildly superstitious and will say things like 'touch wood' - but nevertheless claim not to actually believe in such things.
  15. Subscribermoonbus
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    06 Jul '15 09:33
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    No, I was thinking about most mainstream religions. If you question the members of almost any religion, they will at first say they believe one thing, but on further questioning either back down or admit that they don't really know. Quite often theists will say something on the grounds that it 'might be true' even if they themselves think it highly unlike ...[text shortened]... ll say things like 'touch wood' - but nevertheless claim not to actually believe in such things.
    Ah, yes. "Compartmentalization" is the technical term for that. Another example of that is astrology. A lot of people read the astrology column of the daily newspaper; if the 'prediction' comes true, they say they believe in astrology; if it doesn't come true, they still read the astrology column next day.
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