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Reexamining The Death of Alan Turing

  1. Jun 23, 2012 #1
    Alan Turing, of Turing Test fame, would be 100 today. (Google has a clever animation to celebrate.) In conjunction with that anniversary, this story was posted which questions the usual story of his death:
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  3. Jun 23, 2012 #2


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  4. Jun 23, 2012 #3
    We had https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=2888755 [Broken].
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  5. Jun 23, 2012 #4


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    There is no algorithm that will make every thread terminate in a finite number of posts.
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  6. Jun 23, 2012 #5
    Turing has been the inspiration for a large amount of literature, both biography and historical fiction:


  7. Jun 24, 2012 #6


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    A repeated, escalating application of Godwin's law would ensure this.
  8. Jun 24, 2012 #7


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    The story about Turing’s suicide, presumably because of the persecution he felt for his being gay, is sad enough. I think it is because he was so brilliant and contributed so much, that the story of Turing’s life becomes that much sadder yet.

    Whenever I read anything about Turing now, I think of a paper written by Cowen and Dawson which puts so much of Turing’s struggle in life into a different perspective. It’s widely known that Turing was gay and that he was persecuted for it, but did you know it was thought he was also autistic or Asperger’s?

    Cowen suggests that Turings most famous paper, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” which was the starting point of the famous “Turing Test”, had a secondary, hidden or subversive meaning which is widely unknown and underemphasized. Cowen suggests that Turing’s famous paper is as much about ethics and about Turing’s own experiences in British society as it is about computing machinery and intelligence. He suggests Turing trys to get a point across about how we treat each other that is largely overlooked.

    From that paper:
    Cowen concludes the paper:
    Ref: http://www.gmu.edu/centers/publicchoice/faculty pages/Tyler/turingfinal.pdf
  9. Jun 24, 2012 #8


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    He more than "felt" it. He was chemically castrated by the British legal system. Turing's story of how a great man who we all owe so much to could be treated so horrifically is one that should be more widely known so that we can endeavour to not repeat the mistakes of the past.
  10. Jun 24, 2012 #9
    I saw one recent wired article compare Turing to Galileo as another example of scientists long struggle with persecution. How many great scientists were persecuted precisely because they made such great contributions and would have otherwise been let alone to live their lives in peace if they had refrained from sharing their brilliant insights?


    Scientific objectivity cannot thrive in a close minded culture.
  11. Jun 24, 2012 #10
    Turing and Galileo were persecuted for very different reasons.

    I agree with the criticism of then legal system but not so much with that Turing should have been placed above the then legal system because of his scientific contributions.
  12. Jun 24, 2012 #11
    The actual test, as Turing laid it out:


    "The Turing Test" was represented to me by the person who explained it (not someone at PF) as a test of whether or not a machine was "intelligent". That's obviously not the case. Nor is it a test of whether a machine can think. Turing doesn't think that's a meaningful question:

    It's always interesting to me to read the original source of a concept. They very often turn out not to be what they're represented as being.
  13. Jun 26, 2012 #12
    I recently started to compare Turing to Von Neumann. They were two completely different kinds of people in terms of personalities and ended up very differently as well. But it is interesting that their offices used to be next to each other.
  14. Jul 1, 2012 #13
    I just had a conversation with Cleverbot, and I think the Turing test has been passed as of a few minutes ago.

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