Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Hollingsville TX11/12 ‘Cognition’

How to Pass the Turing Test

As far back as 1950 the mathematician Alan Turing predicted that ‘at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have to be altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted’. Today technicians at MIT are teaching a robot dog how to read a child’s picture book. Movement and image recognition both suggest new ways of looking at how machine – and by implication, human – intelligence operates; but in that understanding lie new forms of power. The Turing Test was originally designed to separate out humans from machines, but perhaps it also points towards some deeper divisions. Human cognition could soon replace mass media as the true battlefield of the 21st century.

It is on the outer edge of consciousness that the military strategist, the infonaut and the new age thinker start to merge. Hollingsville is particularly pleased to welcome into this cognitive no man’s land documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis. Responsible for such magnificent films as The Power of Nightmares and The Trap, as well as the series Pandora’s Box and The Century of the Self, Curtis has been running a blog from the BBC website: the immensely readable The Medium and the Message. Expect live and unscripted wanderings through the military-academic complex, the behavioural labyrinth, the smart drugs laboratory and the even smarter weapons testing range. Welcome to the Geiger-Counter Culture, brothers and sisters.

Hear Hollingsville TX11/12 ‘Cognition – How to Pass the Turing Test’ this Thursday June 24 at 7.00pm on Resonance 104.4 FM , repeated on Tuesday June 29 at 11.00pm. Musical interludes have been specially created for this episode by Frances Morgan, with background moods from ‘Hollingsville’ composer in residence Graham Massey and ins and outs from Indigo Octagon.

See also:
Hollingsville posts
RAND Corporation on Radio 3
RAND Online

Pictured above: the writing on the wall, courtesy of the RAND Corporation website.

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