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Can Machines Think?


Life + Learning

  • Robot thinking

Idea Exchange | March 17, 2013

Is Your Smart Phone Actually Intelligent?

Computers have played an important part in many aspects of our lives. It would be difficult to find an area in which they have not been used to help today’s society with improvements and advancements.

Computers are getting faster and smarter – but is there a limit? Can machines think? Are we headed for the Robopocalypse?

Alan Turing (mathematician, computer science visionary, artificial intelligence pioneer and cryptanalyst) lived from 1912 until 1954 and is considered by many to be one of the greatest minds in computer science in the 20th century. During WWII, at Bletchley Park, he helped with the decoding of the German Navy’s Enigma code and has been referred to as the code breaker.

Turing developed the Turing Test which is based on conversation. If an evaluator can’t tell based on conversation that he is speaking to a computer or a person, the computer must be intelligent. The annual Loebner competition uses the Turing Test to find the most human-like computer and evaluate artificial intelligence.

Want to see what chatting with an an artificial intelligence engine is like? Meet and talk with Cleverbot.

Turing’s hypothetical computing machine, aptly named the Turing Machine, has indisputably contributed to the development of computer science. In his honour, the A.M. Turing Award was established in 1966 and has been nicknamed the Nobel Prize for computing.

For more information on Turing’s lasting legacy, click here.