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Thread: Alan Turing

  1. #1
    "Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."

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    Lesser Hivemind Node Similar's Avatar
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    Now she just needs to pardon the other ~75,000 people who were convicted of the same. Some of them are still alive.

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    While I agree everyone else should be pardoned - or otherwise rehabilitated - it is likely meant as a symbol that very much represents everyone affected similarly.

  4. #4
    I agree with you both.

    Still, it's a very powerful, positive symbol given what's going on elsewhere in the world at the moment.
    "Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    Is it a pardon or exoneration? I mean, now that homosexual is no longer a crime, that says those being ruled as criminals were ruled so unjustly.

    I don't know much about his tragic death, but is there any speculation that this could be a murder? Back then Nazi's remnants were still quite powerful and active, and Mr. Turing was one of the key figures leading to defeat of the Nazi.

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    Vector Jams O'Donnell's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I'd say "about time" really -- it's too little, much too late. The black mark made by the treatment of Turing can't be erased so easily.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
    Is it a pardon or exoneration? I mean, now that homosexual is no longer a crime, that says those being ruled as criminals were ruled so unjustly.

    I don't know much about his tragic death, but is there any speculation that this could be a murder? Back then Nazi's remnants were still quite powerful and active, and Mr. Turing was one of the key figures leading to defeat of the Nazi.
    It's a pardon, and I think it's important that we don't try to revise history and wipe it clean, but rather we should learn from it. It stands as yet another example of why victimising people because of gender/race/sexual orientation only results in disaster for all concerned.

    As for his death, yes, there are all kinds of conspiracy theories about it. That said, I think it's perfectly understandable that he would commit suicide given the side effects of the treatment he suffered (e.g. growing breasts).
    "Oh, evolution. It wasn't meant for everyone."

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jams O'Donnell View Post
    I'm not sure I'd say "about time" really -- it's too little, much too late. The black mark made by the treatment of Turing can't be erased so easily.
    What's done is done. Its all split milk at this point in time. Society evolved. Should it of happened sooner? Probably. But moping about it after the fact is frankly pointless.
    Last edited by Kadayi; 27-12-2013 at 08:52 PM.
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    Did he ever say how long it would be before his test was passed? It'd be interesting to compare.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    What's done is done. Its all split milk at this point in time. Society evolved.
    I'd argue that we haven't come that far and too many people would happily drag us back there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndigoCypher00 View Post
    Did he ever say how long it would be before his test was passed? It'd be interesting to compare.
    The essay in which he introduces the idea is both short and accessible, if you're interested.

    Turing makes a few predictions. At one point, he suggests that a good time to check whether computers will surprise is will be the end of the 20th century. I don't think he's specifically talking about his test, though.

    At another, he estimates that it would take about 10^9 bits-- 100 megabytes-- of storage to create a program that could play his imitation game. It seems as if he expects storage to be the limiting factor. We're well past that milestone now.

    But I don't think he really intended his test the way it's often popularly understood. The Turing test was intended as a thought experiment in order to deal with criticisms of what automatons were capable of. Turing knew that his description was far from complete. After all, who is the interrogator? For how long does the interrogation last? Who is being impersonated? The Turing test is not a test to run AI routines through. It is a tool to help us think.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Squiz's Avatar
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    Glyn Hughes, the sculptor of the Alan Turing Memorial in Manchester, said it was "very gratifying" that he had finally been pardoned. [...] "The problem is, of course, if there was a general pardon for men who had been prosecuted for homosexuality, many of them are still alive and they could get compensation."
    That's what I call a sticky situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
    I don't know much about his tragic death, but is there any speculation that this could be a murder? Back then Nazi's remnants were still quite powerful and active, and Mr. Turing was one of the key figures leading to defeat of the Nazi.
    In 1954?
    Last edited by Squiz; 03-07-2014 at 07:39 AM.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    The essay in which he introduces the idea is both short and accessible, if you're interested.

    Turing makes a few predictions. At one point, he suggests that a good time to check whether computers will surprise is will be the end of the 20th century. I don't think he's specifically talking about his test, though.

    At another, he estimates that it would take about 10^9 bits-- 100 megabytes-- of storage to create a program that could play his imitation game. It seems as if he expects storage to be the limiting factor. We're well past that milestone now.

    But I don't think he really intended his test the way it's often popularly understood. The Turing test was intended as a thought experiment in order to deal with criticisms of what automatons were capable of. Turing knew that his description was far from complete. After all, who is the interrogator? For how long does the interrogation last? Who is being impersonated? The Turing test is not a test to run AI routines through. It is a tool to help us think.
    Well "storage" meant something quite different back then, he'll have meant general memory rather than long term storage like hard disks as early computers only had the one (in fact it was the innovation of the Manchester Baby he mentions).

    100MB is still quite a lot of memory when you consider Turing's conception of programs. Which was essentially that of a machine that does lots of maths. You'll be hard pressed to find all that many programs (their executable code) that actually use that much or are themselves all that large. Once you start adding assets like mp3s, videos, graphical textures, fonts etc. they suddenly become much larger. But the conception of the machine as something just doing a symbolic algorithm 100MB is really quite a lot, generally speaking.

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    You'd need more than "executable code" to successfully imitate any of the humans I've ever met.

    Edit: which is to say, "instruction vs data" is sort of a paradigm in that irritating hippie Kuhn sense, unnecessary to computing, and it's maybe not applicable to the way humans "compute"; and that in order to pass the imitation game, a computer has to handle all sorts of questions, such as:


    Please complete the phrase made famous by Freddie Mercury: "We will, we will, _ _ " (two words)
    Follow up: Please indicate which of the two words is higher in pitch, and which is more heavily stressed.
    Follow up is clearly a trick question!

    Don't quite need a full .mp3 to answer the question, but you need something, and yet anybody of a certain age should be able to field it. A computer can refuse the question, professing ignorance, but it's going to need to know something to be able to beat the human, when the next few questions concern proportions in The Scream and who Snape is. (And don't attach the web without including the storage required by it.)
    Last edited by nate; 04-07-2014 at 07:53 AM. Reason: sounded unbelievably robotic

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