In this month’s Atlantic there is a fascinating article on the Turing Test and what it says about being human. In it, the writer, Brian Christian, gives an interesting piece of background to the perennial popular anthropology question:
Philosophers, psychologists, and scientists have been puzzling over the essential definition of human uniqueness since the beginning of recorded history. The Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert says that every psychologist must, at some point in his or her career, write a version of what he calls “The Sentence.” Specifically, The Sentence reads like this:
The human being is the only animal that ______.
The story of humans’ sense of self is, you might say, the story of failed, debunked versions of The Sentence.
Surely “The Sentence” is easily answered, if you are willing to go all meta- on it?
The human being is the only animal that discourses on “The Sentence”.