October 15, 2021
This week in The History of AI at AIWS.net – Alan Turing’s “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” was published
This week in The History of AI at AIWS.net – “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” by Alan Turing was published in the Mind quarterly academic journal in October 1950. It was the first instance that the “Turing test” was introduced to the public. The paper takes the question “Can machines think” and breaks it down. The paper also addresses 9 objections and arguments against Artificial Intelligence – Religious, “Heads in the Sands”, Mathematical, etc. Turing wrote about a potential “Learning Machine” that could successfully bypass the Turing test.
The Turing test, also known as the Imitation game, can be used to tell machines from humans. It poses a hypothetical, where a human evaluator would judge conversations between a machine designed for human-like responses and a human; if the evaluator cannot identify the machine from the human, then the machine passed the test. The test has proven to be both influential and controversial.
Alan Turing was a British computer scientist and cryptanalyst. He developed the Turing machine, a model of a general-purpose computer, in 1936. During the Second World War, he worked at Bletchley Park (Government Code and Cyper School) as a codebreaker for the United Kingdom. At his time here, he would play a critical role in solving Enigma, Germany’s wartime infamous encryption system. Solving Enigma helped turning the tide of the war in favour of the Allies. After the war, he would go on to develop the Turing test in 1950. Alan Turing is widely considered the father of modern Artificial Intelligence, as well as being highly influential in theoretical computer science. The “Nobel Prize of Computing”, the ACM Turing Award, is named after him.
The History of AI initiative considers this event to be important due to “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” being a seminal paper in regards to both Computer Science and AI.
The paper introduces many new concepts in CS and AI to the general public. Alan Turing is a pivotal figure in the development of Artificial Intelligence, computing, and machine learning as well. Thus, the publication of this paper is a critical moment in the History of AI.