MrMind, a humble chatbot, conducts The Blurring Test, a timely reversal of the Turing Test. Since 1998, he has challenged visitors to his site (www.mrmind.com) to convince him that they are human. So far, no one has.
MrMind's creator, Peggy Weil, suggests that a new definition of human is in order: Who or what do we think we are in relation to our creations?
Matt Costello has scripted dozens of best-selling games, including the critically acclaimed "The 7th Guest," "Doom 3," "Just Cause," and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End." His novel Beneath Still Waters was filmed and released by Lions Gate. His latest suspense novel, "Nowhere," was published in 2007. He also wrote Island of the Skull (Pocket Books), an original prequel to Peter Jackson's film, "King Kong."
Costello has written for television for PBS, The Disney Channel, The Sci-Fi Channel, and the BBC among others. Costello's children's books include the series The Kids of Einstein Elementary (Scholastic) and Magic Everywhere (Random House), as well as books on puzzles and games.
Peggy Weil, Visiting Assistant Professor, USC-SCA Interactive Media Division, is a digital media artist and designer focusing on interactive and immersive design. As a member of the original Architecture Machine Group (now the M.I.T. Media Lab) she worked on pioneering interactive projects going on to create titles for The Voyager Company, Broderbund, Electronic Arts, Von Holtzbrinck and Ravensburger Interactive including the award winning titles "A Silly Noisy House" and "Moving Puzzle."
She was creative producer and designer for the Redistricting Game, a USC Annenberg Center sponsored project to increase voter awareness about congressional redistricting. Current projects include Gone Gitmo, a virtual installation of Guantanamo Prison and Mauerkrankheit (Wallsickness), a visualization of the world's border fences.
There are counter examples to the bogeyman robots. Pinnochio, Maria in Metropolis, R Daneel Olivaw, Wall-E. The explicitly male character of the evil ones describes our mammalian fear of being usurped. People worry that if robots have a soul, they will also have the same volition to reproduce and rule at our expense. It's possible that this is more a man's reaction than a woman's, if the behaviour of African lions translates in some way to the human nature or expectations of nature.
Two examples of fictional societies where machine intelligence surpasses humans: The Culture novels of Iain M Banks show the machines calmly running things and keeping the humans essentially as pets - but with all parties thriving, and Marvin the paranoid android whose brain (the size of a planet) causes him to flounder in an insane human dominated universe. I think the former scenario is more likely, unless we hybridise ourselves so we become partly artificial individuals, as was alluded to by Zaphod Beeblebrox' second head.
So why even question what makes us different? I highly doubt there is a single trait of "humans" which could not one day be given to our creations, in every possible way. So why are we so worried about it? As we create more intelligent and human like machines, we will also eventually work on ourselves, changing or improving ourselves. If Nature could create us, certainly we can eventually do the same. At that point, instead of trying to classify differences, why not simply accept that intelligences exist, and that they will probably wonder the same things. It is a pointless thing to try and find a trait which makes us unique or different. One day they will be the exact same as us, in every way. And we will be the same as them. "Human" will simply turn into "intelligences" and we will then classify it all as the same thing.
Course, till we reach that point, I suppose the question of what makes us different is valid, in order to think of more things to give to our creations. lol
Peak oil, overpopulation climate change and the massive disease epidemics,starvation and resource wars that are coming over the next 3 decades make this sort of speculation laughably trivial;CYBER-BOLLOCKS
I think we are approaching a point where discussions of humanity's distinctions will become counter-productive. When we do create or encounter a collection of non-human intelligences equal or superior to our own will we be prepared to coexist with them?