07 May 2010

Artificial intelligence

On May 7, 1941, the Royal Navy (UK) captured a top-secret German "Enigma" code machine.

They did a lot of work with that in the years to come, calling the project "Ultra."

Alan Turing, a mathematician and logician, was involved in that work, and Turing in time came to generalize this experience in some writings that have had great importance in the subsequent development of computer science.

Thus, one encounters talk of a "turing machine" and of the "Turing test" as a standard for whether artificial intelligence has been achieved.

I don't know what will happen in the politics of the UK as a consequence of the votes cast yesterday. But I do think that (outgoing?) prime minister Gordon Brown deserves some credit for apologizing for the "appalling" way in which Alan Turing was treating as a consequence if Turing's homosexuality.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.