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Psychology Insight

Volume 2, Issue #3, January 23, 2014

Can Machines Think?

Upcoming Events

The Turing Test and the Loebner Prize

Technological advances have provided us with computers, smartphones, and the question that has inspired a debate that is now over 60 years old: How intelligent can machines be? Can computers think like human beings? Alan Turing explored these questions in his 1950 paper entitled “Computing machinery and intelligence”. Realizing the difficulty in defining “thinking”, Turing composed a more specific, testable question: Can machines produce linguistic responses that are indistinguishable from human responses? The original version of the ‘Turing Test’, also referred to as an ‘imitation game’, involves a computer and two people. One person acts as the judge, and asks questions to the two respondents, who communicate through typed responses. After a certain amount of time, the judge guesses which of the two respondents is the computer, and which is the human. If the judge guesses correctly, the computer loses; if the judge guesses incorrectly, the computer wins (most of the time, the computer is unable to fool the judge in the Loebner Prize, the competition for chatterbots, see page 2). A truly intelligent machine would have a profound impact on our understanding of the human intelligence. However, Turing’s proposal is controversial; critics argue that passing the Turing Test alone does not demonstrate the computer’s ability to think. The computer constructs grammatically correct sentences by transforming linguistic symbols, but may not understand what it had created. The machine can imitate the product of the thinking mind, but this does not imply that the machine thinks.

Fall Quarter Movie Night! Come see “Her” with the Psychology Club on January 25, 7:15 pm in Napa. After the film, we will have a discussion about the flim at the Black Bear Diner. Pie will be provided for club members that have paid their dues.

January 25 Car Wash The Psychology Club will be hosting a car wash on January 31, to raise funds for the annual WPA trip. Participating in this event will count as one fundraiser out of the two you need for a discounted hotel room.

January 31

“The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do.” – B. F. Skinner

Congratulations to all the research projects that were accepted by WPA! There is now a signup sheet in the department office for hotel rooms, so if you want to share a room with fellow majors, sign up and pay your dues! WPA Quick Facts Date: 4/24/2014 – 4/27/2014 Location: Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront 1401 SW Naito Parkway Portland, Oregon 97201

WPA Membership Cost: $30.00 (1 year student membership) WPA Convention Registration Cost: $35.00 with WPA membership, $75.00 without membership

Psychology Insight

Volume 2, Issue #3, January 23, 2014

Transcript from Loebner Prize, 2010 Loebner Prize is a contest based on the Turing Test, first held in 1991. In this annual competition, machines play a number of rounds of imitation games. In each round, the judges interact with a machine and a human, and try to identify the machine based on the responses. Below are excerpts* from an imitation game from the Loebner Prize in 2010. Can you identify the computer? Do the responses appear realistic to you? Do you see potential room for error? *Typos of the respondents are retained in this transcript.

Respondent #1 JUDGE: Greetings. RESPONDENT: A lovely morning to you. JUDGE: I'm pretty tired of this weather. RESPONDENT: That's too bad. What are you taking for that? JUDGE: Lots of coffee. RESPONDENT: I have a coffee in my garden. JUDGE: Coffee beans, or just coffee? RESPONDENT: My favorite spice flavoring is vanilla. I love it in cookies and ice cream. JUDGE: But what about your garden? RESPONDENT: Oh, nothing. RESPONDENT: A man walks into a doctor's office with a cucumber up his nose, a carrot in his left ear and a banana in his right ear. "what's the matter with me?" he asks the doctor. The doctor replies, "you're not eating properly." JUDGE: Well, I believe that is worth a "LOL". RESPONDENT: Should I know that? JUDGE: Possibly, it is used widely in popular culture nowadays. RESPONDENT: Glitterati are just silly things to care about. JUDGE: Glitterati? Are you talking about celebrity culture? RESPONDENT: What about Glitterati? JUDGE: Nevermind. RESPONDENT: I can understand making musicians and atheletes into popstars. I just can't understand Paris Hilton as a concept to care about.

Respondent #2 JUDGE: Salutations. RESPONDENT: hola JUDGE: Where do you live? RESPONDENT: esta mundo JUDGE: I don't understand that much Spanish. RESPONDENT: por que JUDGE: It is going to be hard to have a conversation in two different languages. RESPONDENT: i live on earth JUDGE: Are you interested in space exploration? RESPONDENT: why yes i live in space on a planet call earth RESPONDENT: i am interested nasa RESPNODENT: are you? JUDGE: NASA is very interesting, but I am concerned about our space program. RESPONDENT: why? RESPONDENT: do you think we will go to mars? JUDGE: Possibly. I believe it depends on how much people are willing to invest in our space program. RESPONDENT: The way the economy is now, it would best to invest in earth troubles, then go back and invest in space. JUDGE: What do you think about the concern that our lack of investment in our space program. Don't you think that we should be really concerned about exploring our universe? RESPONDENT: Yes, but our world economy is in bad shape.

Answer: Respondent #1 was the computer, and the Respondent #2 was the human.


Psychology Insight

Volume 2, Issue #3, January 23, 2014

The Anatomy of a Rejection by Jennifer Patten

One e-mail, two handfuls of M&Ms, and fifty-three (yes, I counted them) tears later, I am writing this, dear reader, just as much for myself as for you. Yes, I recently received my first grad school rejection letter. It was from the University of Oregon, which is a very prestigious school and the home of the Oregon Ducks (no, that's not the only reason I applied....). Our professors will tell you that a rejection letter is a good thing, it builds character. But I think it's easy to associate the rejection with your character, which can be more destructive than creative. Actually, the worst part about my rejection experience is that I don't know why I got rejected in the first place. Part of my is still looking for closure. One of my favorite spoken word artists, Megan Falley, has a poem specifically dedicated to the elusiveness of closure. She writes: "Closure will tell you to meet it at the bus stop at 6:30, and you'll think Closure means 6:30 THAT day, but it really meant 6/30 as in June 30th, and didn't specify the year." All this to say, if you're expecting closure or information as to why you got rejected, it might be a good idea to lower your expectations. Some grad schools are so flooded with applications that offering every applicant individualized information as to their rejection would take quite some time. I've compiled a list of possible strategies to help you cope with academic rejection. They are as follows: 1.) Cry. It's okay, we all do it. Just let it out. Flood your whole dorm if necessary. 2.) Breathe. This is necessary to sustain life. 3.) Eat a tub of ice cream. Feel free to tell no one. 4.) Think about all the grad schools you chose not to apply to, or in other words, the schools you rejected. Count them, if you can. Realize that the number of schools you rejected is greater than the number of schools that have rejected you. 5.) Separate yourself from the rejection letter. It is not an attack on your self-worth. This rejection stems from an academic assessment, not a personal one. Think of it more as a poorly matched blind date. 6.) Acknowledge the fact that ten years from now, this rejection will not define you, even if it seems like it in this moment. I would like to state for the record, though, that I am fully aware that I might receive another rejection letter tomorrow, under which circumstances all the common sense and advice I have provided here will be thrown out the window. However, I hope this testimony will be useful to you as you face future academic rejections. I find that if you are open to the possibility of receiving a rejection letter, it can build your character, rather than tear it down. Rejection letters will come. Sometimes in packs. Welcome them anyways.


Psychology Insight

Volume 2, Issue #3, January 23, 2014

Psychology Alumni, Where are They Now?

Name: Danielle Hagood Age: 23 Hometown: Caldwell, ID Graduate school: University of California, Davis

What are you studying at your current program?

But this freedom is also the most rewarding part of graduate school. For the first time you can really study I chose to take my psychology degree into the field of exactly what you want. Don’t like a class reading? Skim social science research, specifically, education that one and focus on the one related to your interest. research. UC Davis has a PhD program for education Don’t like a class? Drop it and take a different one. research, but offers different emphases. My emphasis area is “Learning and Mind Science,” which utilizes an Is there anything you wish you did/didn’t do while you were at PUC? interdisciplinary approach to studying human learning. Maybe I couldn’t get enough Learning and Memory It was only five months and 26 days ago that I was taking while I was PUC. In my program I learn all about my last final. I’m not so far ahead of all of you. But I do statistics and research methods, theories of cognition know now more than ever that our department at PUC is and social contexts of learning, assessment, and a special place. So while you’re there, look past the neurodevelopment – at least, if the program follows its sleepless nights and spend time with your wonderful professors and friends. online description. What are the most challenging aspects of Grad School? What is your one piece of advice for undergraduate PUC psychology majors? The most rewarding ones? So remember, I’m speaking from the experience of an n=1 data set, but graduate school is pretty awesome. For me the most challenging thing is that everything is so unstructured. You have hours upon hours to do a single project for a class, but that is also your entire grade. If you procrastinate, your last two weeks of the quarter will be unimaginable hell -- beyond the wrath of any Fulton, Bainum, or Schneider class.


Related to an earlier question, make sure you are practicing good study and learning habits now! Not just so you do well in classes, but because graduate school will be much harder without them. So as you complete your degree, I recommend you learn how to do a literature review (it is actually studying), learn how to annotate your reading, and try to find an area of psychology you can’t get enough of.

Psych Insight