I’ve been anxiously waiting for this assignment to be marked for a couple of weeks now, and I think it’s actually the most worried I’ve ever been about a TMA. But thankfully, I got my assignment back today, so the nervous waiting is finally over! I got 91% for this one, which looks a bit rubbish compared to the scores I’ve had on previous computing courses, but then again, it is a level 3 course, so of course it should be more difficult than M263 or M255, etc.

I was surprised to find that I got a fairly high score for the incredibly vague Question 4 – since I thought I’d pretty much bluffed my way through it – but instead, my worst question was actually Question 1, which I’d assumed I would do well on. I was disappointed to find that I had such a shaky grasp of some of the key points about symbolic AI and the Turing Test, but the feedback my tutor gave was extremely thorough and very interesting in its own right, so I ended up feeling quite happy about the question despite the low score.

The most interesting idea that my tutor mentioned is that of subjectivity in tests for intelligence. I can see now that the Turing Test relies on subjective judgement, but it does make me wonder whether there are any objective tests of intelligence. I quite like the loose criteria given in Block 3, which is roughly that intelligent behaviour is

  • goal-directed
  • systematic
  • functional

But I’m still not sure if we can objectively assess whether these characteristics are present in a system’s behaviour. And I think any computer system that we build is necessarily going to be systematic and functional (well, hopefully!), but I wonder if a system would count as goal-directed, if its goals had been specified by the programmer? I suppose that you could argue that inbuilt goals don’t count, since they aren’t chosen by the system itself; but then, our basic human drives aren’t chosen by us either.

Anyway, it’s an interesting topic, and one that I’ll try to bear in mind when I start working through the rest of Block 4. Which probably won’t be for a little while, since my next set of MS221 course books was delivered yesterday – so I’ll be putting M366 on hiatus for a bit, and getting stuck in to the intimidating world of calculus!