After conducting several laboratory experiments and carefully analyzing sound bites from debates, speeches, and advertisements, a highly trained team of computer scientists at the University of Chicago concluded earlier this week that Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has failed the Turing Test. This test, developed in the early 1950s by mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing, evaluates an artificial system’s ability to effectively mimic human communication. According to the researchers, Senator Cruz was, despite his best efforts, “unable to offer a convincing impression of humanness or human-like qualities.”
“I’m not going to lie, I am a bit disappointed,” Professor Hans Jensen told reporters. “When Cruz first came onto the scene, it seemed like he was doing a pretty great job of fooling people into thinking he was human, and we really thought he might be the first human-impersonating thing to ever pass the Turing Test. But, once we started to look at his choice of words, his facial expressions, and his mannerisms, his guise became pretty easy to see through.”
The differences that the team found between Cruz and a normal human being are subtle but important. For instance, a normal human smile conveys a feeling of happiness or friendliness, while the team associated Cruz’s smile with such feelings as “discomfort,” “moral emptiness,” and “severe constipation.” A test of Cruz’s verbal patterns yielded similar results; when attempting to imitate interpersonal conversation, Cruz spoke awkwardly, displayed forced emotions, and proposed the implementation of a police surveillance system in Muslim-American communities, leading the researchers to immediately identify him as inhuman.
“One of the key ways we test for humanity is by looking at the subject’s reaction to human suffering,” Jensen continued. “For instance, when shown a photograph of a homeless child crying, a human will tend to express feelings of sadness or pity. But when we showed such a photo to Ted Cruz, all he did was blink and say the phrase ‘I stand with Israel’. Looks like whoever programmed this AI needs to go back to the drawing board.”
But things aren’t all bad for the presidential hopeful. When administered one of Turing’s lesser-known tests, in which an AI is evaluated on its ability to impersonate a greasy fish monster, Cruz passed with flying colors.