Can Computers Think? | Alan Turing and the Birth of Artificial Intelligence

Can Computers Think? | Alan Turing and the Birth of Artificial Intelligence

Alan Turing was a pioneering mathematician widely considered to be the father of modern computers.

His revolutionary idea was to create a machine that would turn thought processes into numbers. It took a decade for technology to advance to the point where a machine could be built to test his ideas – and it worked.

Today all the digital computers that we use work on this same principle.
Turing believed that an intelligent machine could be created by following the blueprints of the human brain. His landmark paper of 1950 described the Turing Test for determining an intelligent machine. The test consisted of a person asking questions via a keyboard to both another person and an intelligent machine. The machine would read a series of ones and zeros from a tape which described the steps needed to solve a problem or task.   If the computer’s answers could not be distinguished from those of the person after a reasonable amount of time then the machine has some intelligence, according to the Turing Test.

Turing was the first to ask the question, “Can computers think?”. In 1951, BBC broadcasted a short lecture on the radio by the mathematician. Unfortunately, we don’t have any recordings of Alan Turing today. But we can glimpse into his mind through the original script of this lost broadcast.

00:00 – Who is Alan Turing?
01:13 – The Turing Test
01:44 – Can Computers Think?
06:21 – Determinism vs Free Will
09:16 – What Happens if Computers Can Think

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