View Full Version : Alan Turing

20th Sep 2011, 13:31
Following on from some of the thoughtful replies in the arsenic thread to the mention of Alan Turing, I thought I'd start a thread on what constitutes human intelligence (ribaldry is clearly part of it). ;)

Is human intelligence different to that might be "manifested" by a machine? Are we better than machines or is this just hubris that will be exposed when machines are no longer discernible from men? Is it teleology that makes us seem to be sentient creatures?


20th Sep 2011, 13:58
It definitely isn't teleology (Classic nor Modern) Cac, as such
an argument is of no use scientifically.

Human intelligence have many abilities such as the capacity
to reason, plan, solve problems, think, comprehend ideas,
use languages, and to learn without any external biological
programming (ie the ability to outgrow its original program).

Human-created machinery intentionally mimic the ergonomic
and reasoning processes of its creators. However, whilst the
rapidity of machine processes can be many times that of the
human brain, the machine cannot "grow" its own intelligence
- gold in gold out, shit in shit out.

green granite
20th Sep 2011, 14:03
I thought I'd start a thread on what constitutes human intelligence

Anyone who disagrees with CAGW. :E

20th Sep 2011, 14:25
Human intelligence - I'm all in favour of it.

Teleology is a broad spectrum. I'm with John Polkinghorne - an eminent scientist, who also happens to be an Anglican priest. We don't know, so we each pick whichever argument suits us - his is the one I pick.

20th Sep 2011, 14:39
" I think, therefore I am."

Someone once said.
But it doesn't apply in all cases.

tony draper
20th Sep 2011, 15:12
It's a side effect of carrying a model of the universe around inside our heads and the ability to move a virtual self aound it forwards and backwards in time.
That's all.

20th Sep 2011, 15:34
Human Intelligence ?
I obviously don't qualify,as I can never get things to embed. (remember the valley full of Tiger Moths ?)
However, take a look at Eric Idle's Galaxy song.

20th Sep 2011, 16:20

Interconnected synapses and a number of fading memories...


Ancient Observer
20th Sep 2011, 16:25
,,,Intelligence is only possessed by those who can get beyond page 15 of A Brief History of Time. I tried it in both paperback and hardback, but never made page 16.

20th Sep 2011, 20:07
Do you know the story about the Apple logo and Alan Turing ? Is it true ?

20th Sep 2011, 20:22
I thought I'd start a thread on what constitutes human intelligence

I post, therefore, I am. Pprune is, ipso facto, human intelligence. It is the only reality. All else is a figment of our imagination.

Are we agreed?

20th Sep 2011, 20:26
Reading this thread something occurred to me for the first time, (OK, I am a bit slow.)

Can computers dream? And if they can, how would you know they are dreaming? If they dream but can't tell you what they are dreaming because a real dream is forgotten on waking, then what was the point of their dreaming anyway?

20th Sep 2011, 20:28
Only if you put them into "sleep" mode, Chris

Sir George Cayley
20th Sep 2011, 20:33
I am, therefore I'm anxious.

Alan Turing was held back from greatness by being outed as homosexual in a time that didn't much go for that.

In another time he would have gone further in his work but sadly his life ended too soon.

Isn't the Internet an intelligent 'computer'?


20th Sep 2011, 20:35
Do androids dream of electric sheep?



tony draper
20th Sep 2011, 20:43
Dreaming takes place in the short term memory banks which as you all know nature has fashioned to be deliberately volatile, they evaporate as soon as you wake up,a sensible arrangement otherwise your noggin would be full of false information and memories,except for some of us rare individuals it leaks over into the long term memory therefore we can generally remember dreams very well.

20th Sep 2011, 22:12
So soon we'll have people (or computers) who claim they can interpret computers' dreams?

20th Sep 2011, 23:02
Always considered "Human Intelligence " to be an oxymoron.

signed: A visitor from a far distant galaxy.

20th Sep 2011, 23:39
Isn't this evidence of exactly that:Online gamers solve decade-old AIDS enzyme puzzle in three weeks - Computer Business Review (http://media.cbronline.com/news/online-gamers-solve-decade-old-aids-enzyme-puzzle-in-three-weeks-200911)

Gamers competing on Foldit provide pharmacologists 3-D picture they needed

Online gamers of Foldit have reportedly helped scientists solve a long standing puzzle about the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus.

Scientists had been looking for the answer for a decade; a task that the gamers came together to complete in a few weeks. Their work has been published in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, where they have been referred to as co-authors.

Gamers had to break down the protein structure of a monomeric protease enzyme, a cutting agent in the complex molecular tailoring of retroviruses, a family that includes HIV, reported AFP. Researchers were looking for the structure to find cures to diseases as deadly as AIDS.

When scientists used a microscope, they found only a flat one-dimensional image of the virus. Finally, gamers gave pharmacologists the 3-D picture they needed to find potential targets for drugs.

Foldit was developed in 2008 by the University of Washington. It is a fun-for-purpose video game in which gamers compete to unfold chains of protein structures using a set of online tools, said the AFP report. The gamers completed the task in three weeks.

"We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed," Firas Khatib of the university's biochemistry lab said.

"The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems."

Foldit co-creator Seth Cooper said, "People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at."

He added, "Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans. The results in this week's paper show that gaming, science and computation can be combined to make advances that were not possible before."

We human are still better than computers. Something we forget at our peril.

21st Sep 2011, 01:34
Intelligence is only possessed by those who can get beyond page 15 of A Brief History of Time

I got through ABHOT quite well - its them PhD holders in
Quantum bloody Physics who are the most intelligentest!

21st Sep 2011, 08:18
otherwise your noggin would be full of false information and memories
I thought that's what we used TRABB for. :ok:

21st Sep 2011, 10:45
I always watch University Challenge.

I'm always challenged.

Ancient Observer
21st Sep 2011, 11:00
if you mean Das Kapital, then I read that fine. No problem at all.
Capital is, after all, merely the accumulation of previously expropriated surplus wage labour.
Reading that isn't intelligence, it's more like Religion.
As for Uni challenge, SWMBO and I have to watch that and compete with asking questions. She gets all the arts, music and literature questions right, I get the Sociological and Biz questions right, but we fail miserably with all the techie/human body/Biology questions.

Ancient Observer
21st Sep 2011, 13:01
I'm not sure you wanted all this, but here goes.....
I'm not an expert on the complete philosophical background at the time that he wrote, but the reason why a lot of the works in those days were spectacularly long winded was that they were trying in their books to both disprove someone else's work - sometimes many other folks work - and to promote their own ideas. Marx was writing in a context following works by Hegel, Proudhon and a bunch of others.
Stripping out Marx's own hatred of what to-day we would call the underclass - (the rioters), and stripping out the inter-philosopher bitching, his basic economic question was, and remains, a good one.
When a craftsman and a financier/banker, come together to produce a product, how much of the "added value" should go to the craftsman, and how much to the banker??

We now use fancy terms, but "added value" in this context is what Marx called "surplus wage labour". The bankers - (in Marx's times, Rothschild et al), took the surplus wage labour, accumulated it, and created "capital". That's why all capital is theft - from the craftsman.
Of course, he is right, other than about my capital, which wasn't stolen from anyone.

21st Sep 2011, 13:40
"That's why all capital is theft from the craftsman."

This is a false statement. I can show you by a single example.

You can accrue capital and value by keeping your home maintained.

The interaction of supply and demand in your location, if it is a desirable one, can result in a significant positive change in value -- that was stolen from nobody -- when you sell the house (kids finally grown) and find another, perhaps smaller, house to live in.

Nobody stole anything for that.

I find your repeating of a poorly thought out axiom (using the ever nebulous "all" category) as though it were a fact unfortunate.

It is part of the Marxian mythology, that there are only zero sum games afoot in economic interactions. If he had understood win-win, his theory might have had more value than it does. Likewise, if a lot of the industrialists of the nineteenth century had understood win-win, labor relations might not have needed to be so voilent for a century or so.

21st Sep 2011, 14:22
Dreaming takes place in the short term memory banks which as you all know nature has fashioned to be deliberately volatile, they evaporate as soon as you wake up

Not sure that you're right there Drapes. Brains are a bit like computers - nothing is ever completely destroyed. It's in there somewhere and is just waiting for the right keying sequence to be brought to the surface again.

That's why some dreams recur and we remember them.

As a hypnotherapist I know that you can drag out those dream memories. The trick is being able to distinguish them from real time but repressed memories. There's more than a few have spent time in the dock because people haven't been able to distinguish that difference.

21st Sep 2011, 20:29
I have no idea what 'teleology' is and I don't why the name of Alan Turing should surface now. It must be a case of syncronicity that I happened to visit Bletchley Park (The Home of the Code Breakers) on the Sunday just past. He helped design/build the Bombe machine that cracked the Egima codes and can be seen at the Park. That will blow your mind even before you get to the Collusus reconstruction.

As to the reconstruction of the Collusus machine (deciphering the Lorenz codes), well that is beyond belief. Around 2,000 valve type thingies. They had no plans as they were destroyed along with all the ten or so Collosi. It was reconstructed from photos and memory. If you do visit the park, DO take a guided tour. The guide we had was amazing. Apparently Alan Turing not only wore a gas mask whilst cycling from the pub to 'work', his bicycle had only half a chain. Work that one out.

What wasn't told was that he was persecuted and took his own life, having helped shorten the War by maybe two years. However, visit the park if you can. You may need to de-cipher the sign posts though......

22nd Sep 2011, 04:52
Turing was a bloody smart bloke and yes helped shorten the
War, but was his lawyer smart? Couldn't the court conviction
of his pooftery been offset by his very laudable codebreaking

He then might have only got 2 to 3 months in the slammer
which would've been much better than copping estro shots.

22nd Sep 2011, 05:34
Turing was a bloody smart bloke and yes helped shorten the
War, but was his lawyer smart? Couldn't the court conviction
of his pooftery been offset by his very laudable codebreaking

Turing was bound by the Official Secrets Act and the activities at Bletchley Park were sub rosa. There is absolutely no way he could argue that way and nor would he have wanted to one suspects.

Truth is he was hounded to death in a sense. Sad and an interesting footnote to the intolerance that existed (and still does) in fair Albion and elsewhere.


22nd Sep 2011, 06:03
Yeh I forgot that Cac - the OSA was effective until 1974 I believe.

tony draper
22nd Sep 2011, 06:51
Watched some gray haired old Ladies who had worked at Bletchley park in a TV documentary,they had not even told their husbands of forty and fifty years what they had done during the war,people sworn to secrecy took it seriously then.
Churchill ordered all the kit at the Park dismantled and utterly destroyed so we could not claim to have invented the first computer,so the Cousins claimed the glory,bit like the lecky light bulb eh?:rolleyes:

22nd Sep 2011, 07:21
Hang on Drapes - if Tommy Edison wasn't the first to invent
lecky illumination of the bulberous kind then who did? :bored:

tony draper
22nd Sep 2011, 07:27
One Mr Joseph Swan of Gatshead,frst house in the world with lecky light is about a quarter of a mile from where one sits,he had a functioning lecky light bulb when that plagerising bugga Edison was still sticking wires in buffalo turds in a pathetic attempt to get them to emit light.

22nd Sep 2011, 07:45
MIL had a friend, who we often bumped into her when visiting her. Nice little old lady she was, nothing remarkable at all, never married, probably never been out of the village we thought. Then a couple of years ago MIL and friend were chatting about the war and she mentioned that she had spent her time during the war 'working at this place called Bletchley Park'.

(Mind you a lot of ladies from that era had strange backgrounds from those days. MadsLad was very surprised in his younger days when his granny ended up teaching him how to solder - she had spent 4 years of the war soldering gasmasks so was rather good at it, but grannies aren't supposed to do things like that.)

22nd Sep 2011, 09:19
Caco, thanks. I didn't think of that. As he had signed the OSA, his work could not have been used in his defence. This has saddened me. Still curious about the bicycle chain.

tony draper
22nd Sep 2011, 09:40
That generation seldom spoke of their exploits in wartime, not to us sprogs anyway, only found out about my father being on the Murmask convoys by earwigging when I shoudn't have been to him speaking to my uncle about it.
Had a pal who worked with a old chap for about five years,he only found out said old chap had been a Lancaster Pilot during the war at his retirement do.

Ancient Observer
22nd Sep 2011, 12:18
They didn't talk about it much, did they? My dad was in Africa, the LRDG, in France, and then back to Palestine, but all he would say before he departed was that he did not want to talk about it as so many of his best friends died. That formula always cut off my questions!

22nd Sep 2011, 13:12
Iíve a friend, a remarkable German lady in her eighties, who was evacuated from Berlin to the Polish border area to get away from the Allied bombing. In the last days of the Reich she started making her way back, on foot, trying to stay ahead of the advancing Russians Ė she didnít succeed. At that point she stops talking about the war. Sheís still a jolly old soul, though.

22nd Sep 2011, 14:07
Do you know the story about the Apple logo and Alan Turing ? Is it true ? Urban Myth??

I haven't checked Snopes but Apple claim it's more to do with Newton than Turing ......