The Assumption of Agency Theory revisits the Turing Test and
examines what Turing's assessor knew. It asks important questions
about how machines vis a vis humans have been characterized since
Turing, and seeks to reverse the trend of looking closely at the
machine by asking what humans know in interaction and how they know
it. Building upon existing theories of philosophy of mind, this
book shows not how humans operate theoretically, but how they use
every day human skill to overcome knowledge barriers and understand
each other through knowing themselves. Only once human interaction
has been theorized in this way are machines able to be placed
within it; when it is easier to understand what humans believe them
to be. This book characterizes a non-human agent that shows itself
in interaction but is distinct from human agency: an agent acting
with us in our ongoing reproduction and transformation of
structure. Turing predicted that at the end of the twentieth
century, we would refer to thinking machines 'without fear of
contradiction'. The Assumption of Agency Theory shows how and why,
even if we don't say it, we deal with machines every day as if they
are thinking, acting agents.
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