National Research Council of Canada. NRC Institute for Information Technology
Robert French has argued that a disembodied computer is incapable of passing a Turing Test that includes <em>subcognitive</em> questions. Subcognitive questions are designed to probe the network of cultural and perceptual associations that humans naturally develop as we live, embodied and embedded in the world. In this paper, I show how it is possible for a disembodied computer to answer subcognitive questions appropriately, contrary to French's claim. My approach to answering subcognitive questions is to use statistical information extracted from a very large collection of text. In particular, I show how it is possible to answer a sample of subcognitive questions taken from French, by issuing queries to a search engine that indexes about 350 million Web pages. This simple algorithm may shed light on the nature of human (sub-) cognition, but the scope of this paper is limited to demonstrating that French is mistaken: a disembodied computer can answer subcognitive questions.