An official Turing Test is held every year, and while the substantial cash prize has not been claimed by a program as yet, it will certainly be won sometime in the coming years. My view is that this event is distracting everyone from the real Turing Tests that are already being won. Real, though miniature, Turing Tests are happening all the time, every day, whenever a person puts up with stupid computer software. For instance, in the United States, we organize our financial lives in order to look good to the pathetically simplistic computer programs that determine our credit ratings. We borrow money when we don't need to, for example, to feed the type of data to the programs that we know they are programmed to respond to favorably. In doing this, we make ourselves stupid in order to make the computer software seem smart.... We have caused the Turing test to be passed.
Even though it's possible to program a computer to do virtually anything, we all know that's really not a sufficient description of computers. As I argued above: Getting computers to perform specific tasks of significant complexity in a reliable but modifiable way, without crashes or security breaches, is essentially impossible. We can only approximate this goal, and only at great expense.
Every year and a half or so computation gets roughly twice as fast for a given cost. The implications of this are dizzying and so profound that they induce vertigo on first apprehension.... This breathtaking vista must be starkly contrasted with the Great Shame of computer science, which is that we don't seem to be able to write software much better as computers get much faster.
How I hated UNIX back in the seventies - that devilish accumulator of data trash, obscurer of function, enemy of the user! If anyone had told me back then that getting back to embarrassingly primitive UNIX would be the great hope and investment obsession of the year 2000, merely because it's name was changed to LINUX and its source code was opened up again, I never would have had the stomach or the heart to continue in computer science.