Played *The Turing Test* yesterday at +Jake Weisz's recommendation. Pretty good game! Same feel as Portal and The Talos Principle. Only 5-ish hours long.

Like The Talos Principle, in parallel with the puzzles there is a bunch of philosophical dialog. In The Talos Principle I found this dialog annoyingly cliche. In The Turing Test, though, the dialog turned out to be really interesting, particularly as the plot progressed. I'm not going to go into any detail because I don't want to spoil it -- you should play it.

Tangentially: The game makes reference to John Searle's infamous "Chinese Room Experiment", which always makes me angry. I'll talk about that since it isn't a spoiler, obviously.

The Chinese Room Experiment is a thought experiment that goes like this (in my words, not the original):

Imagine you don't know Chinese, but you are given a set of instructions which, if followed, allow you to take a query written on paper in Chinese and produce a response written in Chinese, without ever knowing what the statement actually says. The instructions are low-level thing like: "If the color of the paper at coordinates 5, 9 is black, write the number 2 into your scratch paper at cell 5." or "If your scratch paper cell 52549 has the value 1, color your output paper black at position 6, 8.". Now imagine you are placed in a room with these instructions and all the scratch paper and time you need, and you are passed notes under the door written in Chinese, to which you produce responses written in Chinese, indistinguishable (other than time taken) from how an actual Chinese-understanding human might respond.

Searle: This simulates what a computer does. But nothing involved in producing the response actually "knows" Chinese. Hence a computer cannot truly "know" Chinese and, by similar argument, cannot be conscious.

Me (and many others): The system as a whole (as executed by you plus the rest of the room) knows Chinese even if you don't.

Searle: OK, so imagine you memorize the instruction book, and now you do the whole thing in your head. You still don't know Chinese!

Me: Memorizing the instruction book and running it in your mind does not change anything. It's still that process, which you are hosting -- but which isn't you -- that knows Chinese. Yes, two consciousnesses can occupy the same physical space while still being separate, because consciousness is not physical, it is a process. What you have here is like a virtual machine. If I run a Windows VM on a Linux box, they are occupying the same physical space, but the Windows VM for all intents and purposes is a separate machine, and the Linux host still doesn't understand how to run Windows programs even though Windows programs are running within it. It's the same thing here. Honestly this is really not that complicated and I'm surprised that a professional philosopher with an interest in computer science would have trouble grasping this.

Searle: I have catalogued hundreds of counter-arguments to my argument but none of them are correct. I can't be bothered to actually counter them individually. I'm world-famous philosopher John Searle and I say they are wrong. So clearly I am right.

Me: WTF?
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