The Imitation Game

Glenn P. Thomas and Daniella Creech
Washington State University
PHIL-390 Philosophy of Technology
Dr. Samantha Noll
last update 00:00 PDT April 18, 2020

(The game has ended as of 23:59:59 PDT on April 17, 2020)
Results are posted below in the "conversation pit"

The Rules
Explanation:  Many people have run various forms of the Turing Test. Alan Turing based the Turing Test on a game he called "The Imitation Game" (IG). Not so many have tried the IG itself. We have chosen to see if there's any evidence that the IG is itself a valid test of anything.
For what it's worth, our initial intent was to do a Turing Test in class. With the change in regime, we saw that we needed to change too. In summary, the IG is the same as the Turing Test except that the goal is somewhat simpler. Instead of detecting an allegdly non-conscious machine, one need only detect the difference between a man and a woman based on no more than their answers to your questions.
Also, yes, we are aware of the Turing biopic The Imitation Game, an interesting exposition of the life and times of Alan Turing, including his tragic and barberous demise. But this ain't that.
There are three or more players involved in the IG, one man, one woman and one or more interrogators. The essential play is that the man and woman, known as "A" and "B" answer questions posed by the interrogators. The interrogators goal is to deduce if A is a man and B is a woman or the other way around. We (obviously!) already know who is what. As interrogators, your job will be to figure out who is what. Also, one of us will provide answers designed to confuse the interrogators and the other will provide answers designed to assist. Again, only we know who is which and we ain't tellin'! We are both free to either lie or tell the truth, just as in real life.
For those of you who have read Turing's paper, please note that we've simplified the terms of the game. Instead of having X and Y, one of whom is A and the other B, we have only A and B who happen to be man and woman. As interrogators, you get to figure out which is which.
Why so many interrogators?:  Turing only spoke of one. The issue is that the information available from which to make a choice is rather subtle. It is reasonable to think that some interrogators will miss something and come to an incorrect conclusion. It happens. In fact a successful Turing Test detection of thinking assumes that it will happen. By having several interrogators and allowing them to vote reduces the need for accuracy from "interrogator must always get it right" to "interrogator must get it right more often than not." The IG is at its heart a communications process and communications processes are always statistical, hence the statistical approach to the game.
How to play:  We are inviting you to participate by emailing your questions to us at The emailed questions will go to both of us, "A" and "B". Either of us may (or may not) respond. The questions we receive (as moderated) will be added to this web page, along with our answers. The updates will not happen in real time. One of us will have to manually update the page. The date and time of the more recent update will always be at the top of the page.

By the way, you are welcome to ask more than one question any time you'd like!
Once you think you know which of us is A and which is B, please send an email with your choice. It would also be nice to have a few words about why you think whatever it is you think.

The game has ended as of 23:59:59 PDT on April 17, 2020.  

These final choice comments will be noted and tabulated but not displayed until the game ends. At that time, the results (who thinks what) will be posted along with who was what: ground truth!

RESULTS: Only one player hazarded a guess as to which is which. Unfortunately they got it wrong. That is a bit puzzling considering the circumstances, but that's what the game was about. Be that as it may, the actual identities are announced in the final comments below from A and B.

The Game
A: Hi!
B: Hello!

3Apr20 16:28 Louis Garcia:
My question is for person A. What would person B answer with if I were to ask her or she 'are you a man or a women'?
A: I don't know what B would say.
B: Well if they were being obvious, they would probably state they are the opposite of their own gender, but that would be something that would be easily detected as a lie.

7Apr20 14:44 Courtland McDaniel:
What color is this?
A: Mauve.
B: The color seems to be a sort of pale light purple or a pale very light magenta.

9Apr20 19:14 Daniel Curtis:
Which would win in a fight between a grizzly bear and a Bengal tiger?
A: I have no idea!
B: I'm not really sure who would win in the fight there.

9Apr20 23:40 Candace Quinn:
What are A and B's favorite emoji?
A: Smiley face ;-)
B: The closest thing I have to a favorite emoji is the :V emoji which seems to be being cheeky to me.

17Apr20 23:59:59 GAME OVER!
Final thoughts from A: This has been an interesting experience. I was somewhat disappointed that we didn't have more participation. Thanks to all who participated and also to Dr.Noll for incentivizing the game with potential extra credit points.

I thought the most perceptive question was asked by Courtland McDaniel. The obvious questions to ask are those where men and women's behavior differ in the most striking way. Courtland's "what color is this? " tapped into just such a difference. Women typically have more cones (color perceptors) in their retinas than men and usually see more colors as a result. The difference can be small and I don't know if our answers were much help, but this was the best question IMHO.

I also played the game to the extent I could. Of course, I already knew who was which but looked at the questions and answers with an eye towards differences in our answers. What jumped out at me was that Daniella's answers where more verbose than mine. Based on that, I think I might have guessed which was which and come up with the correct answer.

Again, thanks to all who participated!

Glenn Thomas/person A
Final thoughts from B: The Game was, for me personally, somewhat interesting though I will admit that when I was not answering a question I usually did not consciously think of the game, though I made sure to be available for any questions sent.

The point I was most surprised by was how few people asked questions in general and how only one person tried to guess which one is which. The first is due to the fact there was extra credit on the table and a simple question to get free extra credit I would had thought would have had most jump at the opportunity. Now the second is less surprising, though I would had imagined, since I thought more would had jumped onto the game for the extra credit, that there would had been more then one, not many, but more than one who would try and guess which one is which. And the one who tried to guess which one was which was incorrect in their guess.

I made sure to be deliberately confusing in my answers, which was the job I was given as person B, and so I made my answers far more verbose as to be able to better hide who was who, and with no one guessing correctly I believe I succeeded. I would had been able to probably guess the two were different, but I don't know if more or less verbose answers would be able to necessarily help me guess who was A and who was B if I didn't already know as person B. Anyway that is my main thoughts on the matter.

Also thank you for anyone who participated.

Sincerely your classmate and deliberate obfuscator,

Daniella Creech/person B

note: Why the "electGlennThomas" domain? The reason is that at some time in the prehistoric past, Glenn ran for political office. This was his campaign website. After not being elected, Glenn chose to keep the site as a personal website and it had everything needed for this philosophical project. If you are interested in more information about Glenn's ill fated run for political office, two campaign radio spots exist for your listening pleasure, radio spot 1 and radio spot 2.

© 2020 by Glenn P. Thomas and Daniella Creech