alan turing

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obviously partial in brain (reading/draft on his pardon.. new year’s eve 2013).. adding this page while reading Steven Johnson‘s emergence…. and Keller’s find via Turing..


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Alan Mathison TuringOBEFRS (/ˈtjʊərɪŋ/; 23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was a pioneering English computer scientist,mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and theoretical biologist. He was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

During the Second World War, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Britain’s codebreaking centre. For a time he led Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including improvements to the pre-war Polish bombe method and an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine. Turing played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic; it has been estimated that this work shortened the war in Europe by as many as four years.

After the war, he worked at the National Physical Laboratory, where he designed the ACE, among the first designs for a stored-program computer. In 1948 Turing joined Max Newman’s Computing Machine Laboratory at the Victoria University of Manchester, where he helped develop the Manchester computers and became interested in mathematical biology. He wrote a paper on the chemical basis of morphogenesis,

one Keller found/refers to in emergence

and predicted oscillating chemical reactions such as the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction, first observed in the 1960s.

Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts, when such behaviour was still a criminal act in the UK. He accepted treatment with DES (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. An inquest determined his death as suicide, but it has been noted that the known evidence is equally consistent with accidental poisoning. In 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime MinisterGordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for “the appalling way he was treated.” Queen Elizabeth II granted him a posthumous pardon in 2013.

putting people on hold.. and the whole femin ism ness/ binary ness ness…

let’s not wait..

a nother way


via Maria:

binary code of body and spirit

he wanted to understand how he could remain so attached to someone who no longer existed materially but who felt so overwhelmingly alive in his spirit.


But he feels direct experience of his own soul, his spirit. He cannot accept that as an aggregate of flesh, a clump of matter, that his future, past, and present are already determined by the laws of physics. He cannot crush out the intuition that he makes choices, influences the world with his mind and spirit.


He knows the simple form of the chemicals and the rules of their combination, but he can’t shake the force of the impression that Chris makes on him. He can’t limit the experience to the confines of ordinary matter.


It used to be supposed in Science that if everything was known about the Universe at any particular moment then we can predict what it will be through all the future. This idea was really due to the great success of astronomical prediction. More modern science however has come to the conclusion that when we are dealing with atoms and electrons we are quite unable to know the exact state of them; our instruments being made of atoms and electrons themselves. The conception then of being able to know the exact state of the universe then really must break down on the small scale.


Benjamin Bratton – sept 2016 – design, philosophy and ai – 1 hr


so first.. to thinking such – turing…

alan turing

15 min – one notes a kind of sour ironic correspondence between asking ai to pass the test in order to quality as intelligent.. to pass as a human intelligence.. with turing’s own need to hide his own homosexuality to pass as a straight man

the demands of both bluffs are unnecessary and profoundly unfair.. and as for all passing.. the performance of success or failure reveals more about the audience then about the performer

sounds like james baldwin – ‘who needs the term.. not me’


Janet Gunter (@JanetGunter) tweeted at 4:37 AM – 23 Jun 2017 :

“A Queer History of Computing” must-read essay – will reread it #AlanTuring (

Janet Gunter (@JanetGunter) tweeted at 4:35 AM – 23 Jun 2017 :

His death was caused by a violently short-sighted government.


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yours in distress – 2 min video – reading of letter


dec 2017 interview of Jaron Lanier:

I have a position that is both unusual and yet entirely correct. From my perspective, there isn’t any AI. AI is just computer engineering that we do. If you take any number of different algorithms and say, “Oh, this isn’t just some program that I’m engineering to do something, this is a person, it’s a separate entity,” it’s a story you’re telling. That fantasy really attracts a lot of people. And then you call it AI. As soon as you do that, it changes the story, it’s like you’re creating life. It’s like you’re God or something. I think it makes you a worse engineer, because if you’re saying that you’re creating this being, you have to defer to that being. You have to respect it, instead of treating it as a tool that you want to make as good as possible on your terms. The actual work of AI, the math and the actuators and sensors in robots, that stuff fascinates me, and I’ve contributed to it. I’m really interested in that stuff. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the mythology that’s creepy.

AI is a fantasy that you apply to things. The issue with AI is that we’re giving these artifacts we build so much respect that we’re not taking responsibility for them and designing them as well as possible.

The origin of this idea is with Alan Turing, and understanding Turing’s life is important to understanding that idea about AI because he came up with this notion of AI and the Turing test in the final weeks of his life, just before he killed himself while he was undergoing torture for his sexual identity. I don’t want to presume to know what was going on in Turing’s head, but it seems to me that if there’s this person who is being forced by the state to take these hormones that are essentially a form of torture, he’s probably already contemplating suicide or knows that he’ll commit suicide. And then he publishes this thing about how maybe computers and people are the same and puts it in the form of this Victorian parlor game. You look at it, and it’s a psycho-sexual drama, it’s a statement, a plea for help, a form of escape or a dream of a world where sexuality doesn’t matter so much, where you can just be.


There are many ways to interpret it, but it’s clearly not just a straightforward, technical statement. For Turing, my sense is that his theory was a form of anguish. For other people, maybe it’s more like religion. If you change the words, you have the Catholic church again. The singularity is the rapture, you’re supposed to be a true believer, and if you’re not, you’re going to miss the boat and so on.