Tempers flared at a recent organizational meeting of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department when the Horde of Angry Roommates of Engineering Majors (HAREM) lobbied the EECS curriculum board to make the Turing Test a requirement for graduation.
The members of HAREM refer to a test devised by mathematician Alan Turing usually used to determine if a given computer could be considered intelligent or not. This is decided by a judge, who communicates with both the computer in question and a human, and tries to determine which is which. If the judge cannot tell the responses from the computer apart from those given by a person, the computer is said to have passed the Turing Test, and is then considered to be conscious. HAREM would have every member of the EECS department take this test prior to graduation to determine if they may, in fact, be considered conscious.
“Cal should not be graduating people who can’t even hold a normal conversation,” said John Searle, a spokesperson for HAREM and an ardent believer in the validity of the Turing test. “I try to talk to my roommate about his complete lack of personal hygiene and horrible smell, and all he can say in reply is,’ Bad command or file name.’ This is a potential college graduate?”
Not all in attendance agreed, however. “LOL!” stated Phuc Yu, a member of HKN, the EECS Honor Society. “Tis silly to think that EECS majors should have to worry about communicating with computer illiterate peons. If Searle can’t speak something object-oriented, what good is he in society?”
The meeting ended at an impasse, but both sides have vowed to spam numerous newsgroups with their message until they get their way.