Turing Test has often been referred to both in academia and outside it when talking about AI. Yet there were I suppose many more thinkers except for Turing, possibly Descartes among them, that dealt with the question "Can machines think." If so, who were the major ones? And why did Turing's Test became the Influential one among his predecessors?

Additionally, is there any historical link between Turing's choice of test and the psychological theory of behaviorism?

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    $\begingroup$ Did you read Wikipedia's history section? "René Descartes prefigures aspects of the Turing test in his 1637 Discourse on the Method... Denis Diderot formulates in his Pensées philosophiques a Turing-test criterion... In 1936, philosopher Alfred Ayer... suggested a protocol to distinguish between a conscious man and an unconscious machine...", etc. All were sympathetic to behaviorism about human behavior. Turing's own motivations were unrelated. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Oct 22, 2020 at 20:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Conifold, thx. Indeed, I did not think to look it up. But now that I have, I see that Wikipedia does not provide much info or references concerning the history of the question of thinking machines. Are there other figures of importance except for the very few mentioned in wiki? $\endgroup$
    – SAFI
    Oct 23, 2020 at 2:14
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    $\begingroup$ This discussion of these ideas (suitably interpreted) back in ancient Greece may be of interest. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2020 at 16:30
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    $\begingroup$ I suspect this is one of those things that can be pushed further and further back in time (well into prehistoric times) when "thinking machine" is suitably interpreted, and the discussion will be what makes sense to be interpreted as a "thinking machine". For example, does human speculation about intelligent spirits in nature count? The answer is probably NO, but I can understand someone arguing that from the perspective of people without our present context of "machine", thinking about intelligent spirits in nature might not be all that different than us thinking about intelligent machines. $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2020 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ It is not that Turing's version "lasted". It just happened to be restated at the right time, when "thinking machines" were finally becoming something more than an abstract possibility, and by someone who had authority with AI researchers and attracted their attention. So Turing's name stuck. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Oct 27, 2020 at 10:54


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