The man called Alan Turing was certainly a genius: He foresaw the power and influence of computers – as well as how they would work. He also lived a life of persecution for being a homosexual, he was eventually arrested and forced into chemical “castration”. They say he committed suicide by lacing an apple with cyanide (his favorite story was Snow White and The Seven Dwarves.)


But the most interesting thing about Turing is that he was the first person to ask the question: Will machines someday be able to think like humans? And if so, will they be victims of prejudice too?



The Turing Problem

from RadioLab


“100 years ago this year, the man who first conceived of the computer age was born. His name was Alan Turing. He was also a math genius, a hero of World War II and he is widely considered to be the father of artificial intelligence. But the world wasn’t kind to Alan Turing. In 1952, he was arrested and convicted under a British law that prohibited “acts of gross indecency between men, in public or private.”


In 1936, a young Alan Turing devised a machine that would ultimately change the world. You’re staring at it right now–except Turing’s “universal machine” was much, much simpler and totally imaginary. Nonetheless, he proved that with just a few simple ingredients, the machine could compute any mathematical problem that a human could compute….”


Listen to the complete story below –