I read this paper Text Compression as a Test for Artificial Intelligence, Mahoney, 1999.

So far I understood the following: Text Compression tests can be used as an alternative to Turing Tests for intelligence. The Bits per character score obtained from compression of a standard benchmark corpus, can be used as a quantitative measure for intelligence

My questions:

  1. Is my understanding of the topic correct?
  2. Does this mean that applications like 7zip/WinRar are intelligent?
  3. How are the ways a human compresses information (as in form of summary) and ways a computer compresses (using Huffman coding or something) are compatible? How can we compare that?

1 Answer 1


The paper suggests an alternative test to the famous Turing test, which tests a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.

In this test, if winRar or 7zip will compress a file similarly to how a human would compress a file (how does a human compress a file?!), then, yes, those programs will pass the test and will be considered intelligent.

... thus compression ratio on a standard benchmark corpus could be used as an objective and quantitative alternative test for AI (Mahoney, 1999).

  • $\begingroup$ How does the paper think that the way a human compresses some information (in form of summary or something) and the way a computer program does (through Huffman coding or frequency tables) are compatible? $\endgroup$
    – Aether
    Mar 22, 2021 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ I have no idea. I think that your question is valid and the paper does not answer it. $\endgroup$
    – Cohensius
    Mar 24, 2021 at 14:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .