Quotations by Alan Turing


A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human.

We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.
From his paper on the Turing test

(1943, New York: the Bell Labs Cafeteria)
His high pitched voice already stood out above the general murmur of well-behaved junior executives grooming themselves for promotion within the Bell corporation. Then he was suddenly heard to say: "No, I'm not interested in developing a powerful brain. All I'm after is just a mediocre brain, something like the President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company."
Quoted in A Hodges, Alan Turing the Enigma of Intelligence, (London 1983) 251.

Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition.
Quoted in J D Barrow, Theories of everything

...I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.

Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity.

In the time of Galileo it was argued that the texts, 'And the sun stood still ... and hasted not to go down about a whole day' (Joshua x. 13) and 'He laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not move at any time' (Psalm cv. 5) were an adequate refutation of the Copernican theory.
Computing Machinery and Intelligence, Mind 59 (1950), 443.

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency.

I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.


JOC/EFR April 2011

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