Susan G. Sterrett
(Department of Philosophy, Carnegie-Mellon University)
Bringing up Turing's Child-Machine

Turing wrote that the "guiding principle" of his investigation into the possibility of intelligent machinery was "The analogy [of machinery that might be made to show intelligent behavior] with the human brain." (Turing 1948)

In his discussion of the investigations that Turing said were guided by this analogy, however, he employs a more far-reaching analogy: he eventually expands the analogy from the human brain out to "the human community as a whole." Along the way, he takes note of an obvious fact in the bigger scheme of things regarding human intelligence: grownups were once children. So, he says, it might be useful to consider a machine analogue of childhood. In both his 1948 paper "Intelligent Machinery" and his 1950 "Computing Machinery and Intelligence", Turing speaks of a "child-machine"; at one point he speaks of a machine that has "grown up." In this paper, I'll discuss Turing's child-machine, what he said about different ways of educating it, and what impact the "bringing up" of a child-machine has on its ability to behave in ways that might be taken for intelligent. I'll also discuss how some of the various games he suggested humans might play with machines are related to this approach.