Alan Turing's Contributions to Artificial Intelligence

7/1948 to 1950

In July and August 1948 Alan Turing wrote a report for the National Physical Laboratory entitled Intelligent Machinery. In the report he stated that a thinking machine should be given the blank mind of an infant instead of an adult mind filled with opinions and ideas. The report contained an early discussion of neural networks. Turing estimated that it would take a battery of programmers fifty years to bring this learning machine from childhood to adult mental maturity. The report was not published until 1968.

In September 1948 Turing joined the computer project at Manchester University as Deputy Director and chief programmer.

In 1950 Turing published Computing Machinery and Intelligence, in which he described the “Turing Test" for determining whether a machine is “intelligent.”

"Turing predicted that machines would eventually be able to pass the test; in fact, he estimated that by the year 2000, machines with around 100 MB of storage would be able to fool 30% of human judges in a five-minute test, and that people would no longer consider the phrase "thinking machine" contradictory. (In practice, from 2009-2012, the Loebner Prize chatterbot contestants only managed to fool a judge once, and that was only due to the human contestant pretending to be a chatbot.) He further predicted that machine learning would be an important part of building powerful machines, a claim considered plausible by contemporary researchers in artificial intelligence.

"In a 2008 paper submitted to 19th Midwest Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Conference, Dr. Shane T. Mueller predicted a modified Turing Test called a "Cognitive Decathlon" could be accomplished within 5 years.

"By extrapolating an exponential growth of technology over several decades, futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted that Turing test-capable computers would be manufactured in the near future. In 1990, he set the year around 2020. By 2005, he had revised his estimate to 2029.

"The Long Bet Project Bet Nr. 1 is a wager of $20,000 between Mitch Kapor (pessimist) and Ray Kurzweil (optimist) about whether a computer will pass a lengthy Turing Test by the year 2029. During the Long Now Turing Test, each of three Turing Test Judges will conduct online interviews of each of the four Turing Test Candidates (i.e., the Computer and the three Turing Test Human Foils) for two hours each for a total of eight hours of interviews. The bet specifies the conditions in some detail" (Wikipedia article on Turing Test, accessed 06-15-2014).

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