The Ideological Turing Test: More Important Than Ever?
The Ideological Turing Test, created by Bryan Caplan in 2011, is designed to test whether a partisan individual fully understands the political and ideological beliefs of those on the other side of the political sepctrum. Two parties of opposite ideological beliefs are required to answer a question or write an essay from the point of view of one side, for example, a Democrat would be challenged to write as Republican. If the judge was unable to accurately discern which answer or argument was written by which side, ie the Democrat posing as the Republican vs a Republican, then the Democrat would have successfully passed the Ideological Turing Test.
Although the test is a few years old, it may never have been more relevant. There are massive social and ideological cleavages in the US and across the world, and the first step to healing those divides is for both sides to try to understand where the other side is coming from. If you can truly understand the point of view of a person across the other side the ideological spectrum, then you can begin to have a sensible discussion about the divide between you. I couldn’t put it better than Atticus Finch himself, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”.
However, the Ideological Turing Test has come under some criticism. Blogger Noah Smith questioned whether the Ideological Turing Test was flawed based on the logic of the Chinese room thought experiment. The Chinese room though experiment postulated that if you asked a computer questions in Chinese and it’s responses were good enough to fool a person into thinking that they were talking to a Chinese person, that the computer would still not truly understand Chinese, it would only be simulating this knowledge. When considered for the Ideological Turing Test, it poses the question, do you really need to truly understand an ideological argument to replicate it. It is easy enough to parody a point of view without understand where they come from, so how could the test be accurate or even worthwhile?
I think the point of the test has been missed when you consider this argument. I think the main point of the Ideological Turing Test is to teach people to consider the other side of an argument. To begin to work with the other side to discuss the divisions and truly understand the nature of the differences in opinion. There are many divisions in America and across the world that could be at least partially solved or improved by both sides considering why the other side feels the way they do. Police vs minority communities, republicans vs democrats, socialists vs capitalists, pro life vs pro choice, the list goes on. Hillary Clinton had a leaked phone call in which she was saying that she doesn’t understand some of the extremists in the country, and to me it seemed like she wasn’t trying. The left doesn’t want to understand the right, and vice versa, and that is what brought us to our situation today. There is a massive amount of work that needs to be done to bring together a country that is more divided than ever. That starts with understanding the grievances on both ends of the political spectrum.
This article was originally posted on the www.thejist.co.uk
Digital cryptocurrencies have become increasingly popular in recent years but, yet, haven’t replaced its more traditional counterparts in the world of finance. It is the technology underpinning these currencies that looks set to revolutionise the way we make transactions.
Bitcoin was first conceptualised by an unknown person(s) under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Nakamoto published a white paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-Peer Electronic Cash System” on The Cryptography Mailing list at metzdowd.com in October 2008 which detailed a revolutionary cash system that enabled online payments to be made directly, without the need for a middle man. Bitcoins global expansion has meant Nakamoto is now estimated to be worth $700m
While Bitcoin itself has become increasingly well known, it is the technology behind it, blockchain, that has far greater implications in the future and will transform the global economy.
So, what is blockchain?
Blockchain is a global, decentralised ledger that keeps a record of every digital transaction that has taken place. Rather than having a centralised body, like a bank or government, the ledger is part of a network of identical ledgers which are synchronised and readable by any members of the network in question.
When a new transaction is made, it is then grouped with other transactions that have been made in the last 10 minutes and distributed across the network. This is where ‘Miners’ come in. Miners will then compete to validate transactions in exchange for rewards, for example Bitcoins in the Bitcoin blockchain. Mining is intentionally designed to be difficult and time consuming to provide a higher degree of security to the system through incentive. For a more in-depth explanation of mining, check out Investopedia’s explanation.
Each, now validated, group of transactions are then added to the ledger making a chain which shows the transaction history updating the entire blockchain so every single ledger in the network is uniform. This transparency and decentralisation means that any attempt of hacking becomes incredibly difficult if not impossible. A hacker would have to target every single block in the blockchain simultaneously to be successful in contrast to large, centralised third party organisations, like banks, where a single attack can be co-ordinated.
The uses of blockchain networks are potentially limitless with some experts predicting that they will be used for the collection of tax in the very near future. Blockchain could easily become a global, decentralised source of trust but it seems not everyone is ready to embrace it. A large number of third party trust services now face major challenges, for some their very survival. A 2016 IBM report states that by 2020, 66% percent of banks expect to have blockchain in commercial production and at scale showing the true significance of the blockchain revolution.
In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Paul Brody, EY’s Global Innovation leader discussed the real world application of blockchain stating “Supply chain management, procurement, and order to cash processes are probably the hottest areas right now outside of finance,” “Related to that, we think there will be a big push around tax, audit and cyber security as enterprises embrace the immutable and distributed nature of blockchain technology.”
Through complex mathematics and cryptography, blockchain offers a transparent and decentralised database, or ledger, of any transaction such as money, goods, services, property and many more. The growth of blockchain networks will see the future global economy move toward a model of disseminated trust, where anyone with an internet connection can become involved in transactions which will ultimately remove the need for third party middle men such as banks or notaries.