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Argument from Consciousness

This argument, posed by Professor Jefferson Lister, states: "Not until a machine can write a sonnet or compose a concerto because of thoughts and emotions felt, and not by the chance fall of symbols, could we agree that machine equals brain-that is, not only write it but know that it had written it. No mechanism could feel (and not merely artificially signal, an easy contrivance) pleasure at its successes, grief when its valves fuse, be warmed by flattery, be made miserable by its mistakes, be charmed by sex, be angry or depressed when it cannot get what it wants." (Turing)

Turing responds that by this estimation, the only way to know if someone or something can think is by being that person or thing, meaning that two entities could argue forever, quite convincingly, that the other cannot think. His conclusion is that one should accept convincing behavior as being genuine (Turing). This conclusion is very take-it-or-leave-it, and its acceptance depends very much on one's personal beliefs. As one who believed that machines could one day become humanity's equal, Turing of course can come to this conclusion easily, but those who are naturally skeptical of this concept find Turing's response inacceptable.