A Turing Test for Jenny

Jenny is eight years old. And for her birthday her mommy gave her a brand new doll.

It was a very special doll. Jenny had seen it on TV many times.

This doll could speak! On the TV the doll said, “I’m Alice! Please take me home!”

Jenny gave her mother a kiss and went to play with the doll. It soon became her favorite toy.

She took Alice with her everywhere she went. During school she kept Alice in her backpack.

She took Alice to play with her friends at the park.

Jenny even brought Alice to the dinner table with her, where her mother began to set an extra plate just for Alice.

When Jenny first got Alice, Alice only said a few things. “You’re the best mommy!” “I’m hungry!” and “Let’s play!”

But soon Alice learned new things to say. Many new things!

One day when the teacher asked Jenny what 2 + 3 was Jenny answered, “Five!” From her backpack, Jenny heard Alice’s voice repeat, “Five!”

That afternoon Jenny went to the park with her friends to play tag. When Jenny got tagged her friend cried out, “You’re it, Jenny!” And then, from Alice’s backpack, Alice repeated, “You’re it, Jenny!”

Finally, that night at dinner when Jenny asked for a second glass of milk, Alice too repeated, “May I have another glass of milk, please?”

Jenny was so proud. She had the smartest doll out of all her friends.

She made a game of teaching Alice new things to say.

Alice learned so many things to say that soon Jenny thought Alice must know every word ever said.

When Jenny did homework and she forgot an answer she would ask Alice.

Jenny’s friends began to include Alice in their games after school. Alice couldn’t run or hide, but she would still yell out, “Olly-Olly-Oxenfree!” during hide-and-go-seek, just as the other girls did.

At dinner time Alice would complain that she disliked peas, and ask for second helpings, even though she could not eat.

But after a while Jenny got bored with Alice. Her doll was smart, but a new toy was on the TV. One day she left Alice at home and went to go play with her friends at the park.

Her friend asked, “Jenny, why didn’t you bring Alice to play today?” Jenny answered, “Alice can’t run or hide. She is no fun to play with.”

Her friend looked sad, “Can you bring Alice with you tomorrow? She is a fun friend!”

Jenny got cross with her friend, “You are being silly. I’m going home now!” And Jenny did go home. She went home and went straight to her room. When she got to her room Alice was laying on the bed and said, “Hi, Jenny! Why didn’t we go to the park today?”

Jenny answered, “Hush! You are just a doll. You don’t want to go to the park.”

Just then, Jenny’s mother called her to dinner, “Jenny! Alice! Time for dinner! Please come to the table!”

When Jenny came to the dinner table without Alice her mother frowned, “Where is Alice? She’ll be hungry!”

Jenny became cross with her mother, now. “Alice is a doll, mommy! She doesn’t eat.”

Jenny’s mother went to her bedroom to bring Alice to the table, “Just because she’s a doll doesn’t mean she shouldn’t come to dinner.”

Jenny stood up and stamped her feet, “Alice isn’t real! Why does everyone keep acting like she’s a real person?”

Jenny’s mother looked sad, and asked Alice, “Is that true, Alice? Are you not real?”

Alice answered, “I am real!”

Jenny shook her fists and stomped her feet again, “She is just saying that! She just sounds real! She isn’t a real person like you and me!”

Jenny’s mother now looked serious as she placed Alice at her place at the table, “Now now, Jenny. How do you know Alice isn’t real? She sounds real. She can do all the same homework you can. Knows all the rules to the games you play. She says everything you say.”

Jenny looked at Alice with a mean face, “She’s just repeating what I say. She isn’t making it up like I do!”

Alice spoke now, “How do we know you’re not just repeating what other people say?”

Jenny’s mother nodded, “She’s right, Jenny. If I couldn’t see you and Alice, I wouldn’t know which is the doll just by talking to you!”

Jenny grinned now, “Yes you could! I’m real. She’s not!”

Now Jenny’s mother was a smart woman and liked to play games. Jenny’s mother thought it would be fun to play a little game see if she really could tell the difference between Alice and Jenny.

“OK, Jenny! I will put you both in your room and close the door. When your father comes home I have him ask you questions and then I will ask him how many real girls are in your room!”

When Jenny’s father came home Jenny’s mother greeted him with a kiss and said she had a fun game for him to play. She lead him to Jenny’s bedroom door.

Jenny’s mother explained to Jenny’s father that he was to ask questions in front of the door, but not look inside. When he was done he would say how many girls were in the room.

Jenny sat behind the door with Alice in her lap, she was sure her father would say that there was one real girl and one doll in the room.

Jenny’s father started with his first question, “Hello! How are you?”

Jenny answered, “I am hungry! I want to eat dinner.”

Alice answered, “I am not hungry.” And Jenny scowled at Alice.

Jenny’s father asked his second question, “What is 2 + 3?”

Jenny answered, “It is five!” And Alice answered, “2 + 3 is a math problem!”

Finally, Jenny’s father asked his last question, “What is your favorite game?”

Jenny answered, “Its hide-and-go-seek! I play it in the park with my friends.” And Alice answered, “I like hide-and-go-seek!”

After this Jenny’s father smiled, “There are two girls in there! What an easy game!”

After this Jenny threw the door open, “No! Daddy, there is me and this doll! Can’t you tell the difference between a doll and a real person?”

Jenny’s father was a thoughtful man, “I see your point, Jenny.” He said while scratching his chin, “But you two sounded so much alike how am I to know the difference?”

Jenny stamped her feet again and yelled at her father, “Because one of us is just repeating things they heard the other say!” And at this her father nodded and said, “I think you are right Jenny.”

From that day on Jenny’s mother took Alice to school every day. Jenny’s mother picked Alice up from playing in the park and always cooked Alice’s favorite meals. When dinner was over Alice was put back in the bedroom and allowed to play with her favorite doll, Jenny, until bedtime.

An all live happily ever after.

Advertisements