A BILL TO Give a statutory pardon to Alan Mathison Turing for offences under section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 of which he was convicted on 31 March 1952. BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and […]
I read David Leavitt’s excelent biography of Alan Turing in 2006. I then remarked that Turing not only had to undergo the British narrowmindedness and intolerance towards gay people, he also had to face the arrogant ideas on the supremacy of the human (male? white?) brain. And there he was, proposing a machine that one […]
The Man Who Knew Too Much Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer David Leavitt Dit is niet echt een biografie. Leavitt is ook geen wetenschapper, laat staan een mathematicus. Hij is romanschrijver en geeft creative writing in Florida. Leavitt verwijst zelf verschillende keren naar de zeer minutieuze biografie van Andrew Hodges: Alan Turing: […]
This is not a novel, but as the subtitle says: “a work of scientific speculation”. In a fictional setting Mr Casti brings together some famous scientists to discuss (in 1949) the possibilities of the computer.
The host of the dinner party is CP Snow, and indeed this is a typical situation for Snow’s main character Lewis Eliot.
Guests at the dinner are Ludwig Wittgenstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Alan Turing and J.B.S.Haldane. And the main topic is the question wether a machine can be built that might be able to think like a human being. In other words, will artificial intelligence ever be possible?
This problem has many facets and Snow moderates the discussion between Turing, the father of the modern computer, Wittgenstein, the famous modern philosopher concerned with logic and language, Schrödinger, specialised in quantum mechanics, and Haldane, an evolutionary biologist.
For those who are interested in human and artificial intelligence, this is a pleasant read.