alan turing

alan turing.png

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..


wikipedia small

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.


the imitation game (doc)


starts in 1951 – burglary of turing’s apt

6 min – back and forth to 1939 – children evacuated.. war w germany – alan on same train – alan on way to bletchley radio manufacturing

bletchley park

12 min – went there to solve the problem of enigma – the german details of every attack.. convoy.. uboat..  go into it and out come gibberish.. only when you feed them back into enigma that they make any sense..

a: just having an enigma machine doesn’t help you to decode the messages

13 min – yes.. to decode you need to know the machines settings.. the germans switch settings everyday at midnight..we receive message at 6am which gives you 18 hrs everyday to crack the code.. before it changes and you start again

hugh alexander to run the unit.. won britain’s national chess championship twice

15 min – a: it was a simple game.. messages floating thru the air.. anyone could intercept.. the trick was that they were encrypted

159 million million million possible enigma settings.. all we had to do was try each one

but if we had 10 men checking one setting a minute for 24 hrs everyday 7 days week.. would take.. 20 million years.. to stop the coming attack we’d have check 20 m yrs worth of settings in 20 min

18 min – a: i’m designing a message that will allow us to break every message every day instantly

20 min – 1951 manchester – detective: why would a maths prof have his military records classified

22 min – a: enigma is an extremely well designed machine.. our problem is that we are only trying to use men to defeat it.. what if only a machine can defeat another machine

22 min – guy who hired turing: you’re not at uni any longer.. you’re a very small cog in a large system (when turing is asking for 100 000 lbs to build machine which hugh said no to).. and you will do as your commanding officer (hugh) instructs

so many misunderstandings between turing and others.. he’s like code himself.. taking everything literally and ignoring all distractions.. et al

now kind of wishing i would have read clive‘s coders when it first came out.. 10th on ebook wait list now

a: asks who his commanding officer is..

responds: winston churchill.. so a writes churchill a letter and puts alan in charge and he fires two of the guys

hugh: this is inhumane.. even for you

another guy in charge: popular in school were you?

24 min – 1928 – sherbone (boarding) school.. a: the problem began with carrots and peas.. mustn’t touch.. boys making fun of him and then.. boxing him in under the floor

25 min – a: do you know why people like violence.. it’s because it feels good.. humans find violence deeply satisfying.. but remove the satisfaction and the act becomes hollow.. (so he quits screaming and the boys leave) i didn’t learn this on my own of course.. i had help.. christopher (one of the boys) helped

a to christopher: they only beat me up because i’m smarter than they are

christopher: no.. they beat you up because you’re different.. but you know alan.. sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine

26 min – back to 39 bletchley – short on staff.. a: we get more staff.. and posts a crossword in paper.. ‘if you can solve in under 10 min.. call for an interview for exciting opp’.. (attack happens .. so shows people working on puzzle in bomb shelters)

29 min – bunch of men show up and one woman – joan clarke.. they all have 6 min to do a task.. she finishes first.. in 5 min 34 seconds.. while alan is saying it takes him 8 min.. and one other guy

32 min – back to school in 28 – alan asking christopher what he’s reading.. c: ‘it’s about cryptography’ a: like secret messages c: ‘not secret.. that’s the brilliant part.. messages that anyone can see, but no one knows what they mean unless  you have the key’

a: how’s that diff from talking.. when people talk to each other.. they never say what they mean, they say something else.. and you’re expected to just know what they mean.. only i never do. so how’s that diff?

c: alan i have a funny feeling you’re going to be very good at him book

34 min – back to 1940 bletchley

37 min – on helping joan she asks.. but why are you helping me  a: sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine

38 min – back to 51 – detective thinks turing to be a soviet agent

a: some people thought we were at war w the germans.. incorrect.. we were at war w the clock.. britain was literally starving to death.. the americans sent over 100 000 tons of food every week and every week germans would send our desperately needed bread to the bottom of the ocean

58 min – 51 – investigator finds out alan is gay not a spy.. is disappointed

1:07 – investigator questions alan i: can machines think

a: you’re asking a stupid question.. of course machines can’t think as people do .. a machine is diff from a person.. hence they think differently.. the interesting question is.. just because something thinks differently from you does that mean it’s not thinking.. if we allow for people to think differently.. why not machines..

i: and that’s this paper you wrote.. what’s it called

a: the imitation game.. would you like to play..? it’s a game/test of sorts.. for determining whether something is a machine or a human being.. all you have to do is ask me a question

i: what did you do during the war.. (a: i worked in a radio factory).. what did you really do during the war

a: are you paying attention

1:17 – back to bletchley – from informal flirting convo.. alan realizes they can set machine to just search certain words that are repeated.. instead of all messages.. and in short time.. (the weather heil hitler) machine does work..

1:19 – hugh: my god you did it.. you just defeated nazism w a crossword puzzle

1:20 – they learn an attack is just about to happen .. killing 100s of civilians.. hugh starts to call the leader guy.. and alan stops him..

a: you know why people like violence hugh.. because it feels good.. sometimes we can’t do what feels good ..we have to do what is logical..

what’s logical

a: hardest time to lie to somebody is when they’re expecting to be lied to.. if someone is waiting for a lie you can’t just give them one

a: what would the germans think if we destroyed their uboats..

hugh: they know that we have broken enigma

joan: they’ll stop all radio communications by midday and they’ll have changed the design of enigma by the weekend

a: 2 yrs work.. everything we’ve done here will be for nothing

there are 500 civilians in that convoy.. we’re about to let them die

a: our job is not to save one passenger convoy, it is to win the war

hugh: our job was to crack enigma

a: we’ve done that.. now for the hard part.. keeping it a secret

peter’s brother is on one of the boats that will be attacked..

1:26 – a: they code named it altra.. the largest store if military intelligence in the history of the world.. secrecy became the primary concern.. for some reason, they trusted me

1:32 – guy they ended up telling part of spy ness.. (?).. has another agenda.. and tells alan he can’t tell and has to help.. a: but i’m not a spy.. i’m a mathematician

1:35 – back to 51 questioning.. a: the war dragged on for 2 more years.. everyday we helped decide who lived/died.. helped the allies to victories and nobody knew.. stalingrade.. the arden.. the invasion of normandy.. all victories that would not have been possible w/o the intelligence we supplied.. people talk about the war as this epic battle between civilizations.. freedom vs tyranny.. democracy vs nazism.. armies of millions bleeding into the ground.. into the oceans.. et al.. the war wasn’t like that for us.. for us it was just half a dozen crossword enthusiasts in a tiny village in s england

1:37 – a: was i god.. no.. because god didn’t win the war.. we did

war is over.. told to burn everything..  for future wars.. so can use it again.. no one has ever heard the word enigma

1:40 – 28 boarding school.. a finds out that christopher is dead..  he had tb

1:43 – a charged for indecency – judge gave him choice of 2 yrs in jail or homo therapy.. meds making him sick

joan: you don’t have to do this alone

a: i’m not alone.. i never have been.. if i don’t continue my treatment.. they’ll take him (christopher) away from me..

joan telling him about all the people and science that wouldn’t exist because of him.. the world is a better place..

a: do you really believe that

joan: i think that the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine

1:48 – after a year of hormonal therapy the govt mandated.. alan committed suicide june 7 1954.. he was 41

between 1885 and 1967.. approx 49 000 homosexual mean were convicted of gross indecency under british law

in 2013 queen elizabeth 2 granted turing a posthumous royal pardon.. honoring his unprecedented achievements

historians estimate that breaking enigma shortened the war by more than 2 yrs.. saving over 14 million lives

it remained a govt held secret for more than 50 yrs

turing’s work inspired generations of research into what scientists called ‘turing machines’.. today we call them computers

based on book – alan turing – the enigma


Eirini Malliaraki (@irinimalliaraki) tweeted at 9:03 AM on Thu, May 30, 2019:
What kinds of projects, domains, and ideas do you think the @turinginst should be working more on? What would you work on if funding was no issue?
Please retweet, reply or drop me an email

augmenting interconnectedness

via 2 convers as infra.. tech as it could be..


Computer Facts (@computerfact) tweeted at 4:14 PM – 6 Jun 2019 :
remember when a gay man made a gay computer and used it to save the world from overwhelming evil and he was rewarded with checks notes chemical torture resulting in his suicide anyway happy #Pride beep boop (