2012: The Alan Turing Year
June 23, 2012 will be the hundredth anniversary of Alan Turing's birth. The so-called Year of Turing also presents an interesting framework for us to gauge the progress of computing.
From 2011-2014, Daniel Honan was the Managing Editor at Big Think. Prior to Big Think, Daniel was Vice President of Production for Plum TV, a niche cable network he helped launch in 2002. The production team he oversaw won over two dozen Emmy awards. Daniel has created numerous shows and documentaries for television, and his film credits include Stealing the Fire, a documentary on the black market for nuclear weapons technology.
Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanielHonan
What's the Big Idea?
He helped win World War II by cracking the German ENIGMA code but was persecuted by Great Britain for being gay. Today, his name is synonymous with the test he invented in 1950 for determining a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior.
June 23, 2012 will be the hundredth anniversary of Alan Turing's birth, and a centenary celebration has been planned with events around the globe. It is perhaps most fitting that the Royal Mail will be issuing a commemorative stamp, a posthumous honor for one of England's heroes who was so mistreated during his life.
What's the Significance?
The Year of Turing also presents an interesting framework for us to gauge the progress of computing. When Turing invented his test in 1950, some predicted that so-called "Strong A.I.," that is, artificial intelligence that matches or exceeds human intelligence, could be achieved in a few decades. Over sixty years later, every machine that has been tasked with simulating human intelligence has failed the so-called Turing Test.
And yet, scientists have become both impressed and alarmed by the tremendous leaps forward in A.I. capabilities in recent years. A.I. has been put into common use by financial institutions, and found promising applications in medical equipment, search technology, games and transportation systems. On the other hand, equal advances have been made in seemingly Frankensteinian creations such as computer viruses and predatory drones, which could prove dangerous if they have achieved what The New York Times called the “cockroach stage of machine intelligence."
Image courtesy of Guy Erwood / Shutterstock.com
Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @DanielHonan
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.