Bad news for fans of robot lawyers. A study published in the Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence on Tuesday exposed a major flaw in the Turing test.
An artificial intelligence could pass the Turing test by staying silent. In the U.S. constitution, the fifth amendment gives defendants the right to “plead the fifth,” so by staying silent in a court of law, an A.I. could pass the Turing test and nobody would suspect a thing.
“If an entity can pass the test by remaining silent, this cannot be seen as an indication it is a thinking entity, otherwise objects such as stones or rocks, which clearly do not think, could pass the test,” said Kevin Warwick, one of the authors of the study from Coventry University. “Therefore, we must conclude that ‘taking the Fifth’ fleshes out a serious flaw in the Turing test.”
That may explain why Bryan Pagliano, Hillary Clinton’s IT specialist, spent 14 minutes giving the same answer 122 times.
“On the advice of counsel, I will decline to answer your question in reliance on my rights under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” Pagliano said, over and over and over again.
The thing is, as Warwick et al have demonstrated, Pagliano could easily be working as a form of artificial intelligence, but as his answer rarely deviated from script in the 14 minute window, Pagliano would pass the Turing test.
Clinton won’t be indicted for her emails, nor will Pagliano have to sit through a Turing test. In the case of the latter, though, Warwick has shown he could pass with flying colors.