Turing Completeness and the Halting Problem for Sexbots

Mathias: Now, a computer is Turing complete if and only if it can compute everything that can be computed with such a Turing machine, i.e. with a device that has a read/write tape and a finite state automaton. And that’s really it.

Friend: So the sex bot would have states. So why care if a sexbot is Turing complete?

Mathias: Because you want sex with a lot of variety. Not always just “in-out-in-out-done.

Friend: I guess.

Mathias: It’s still predictable (otherwise it wouldn’t be computable), but it’s a lot more difficult. In fact, you can’t even know before you start having sex if the sexbot will ever finish. You might be having sex forever. That’s called the “Sex Halting Problem.”

Friend: What?

Mathias: The only way to find out if the sexbot’s program will ever finish is to have sex with the sexbot, but that might take an eternity.

Friend: [cci]While (1) doSexyTimes()[/cci]. I am still confused as to why this matters.

Mathias: Maybe you want to make sure that you are done by the time your girlfriend comes home. With a Turing-complete sexbot, you generally can’t find that out before you start having sex.


About Mathias

Software development engineer. Principal developer of DrJava. Recent Ph.D. graduate from the Department of Computer Science at Rice University.
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