3.1 Influential Figures
Our Computers: Turing Machines
Alan Turing was a British mathematician and computer scientist who in his 1936 paper “On computable numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem ” theorized the possibility of building a general purpose computer, a Turing machine, that can accept inputs, store and process data, and then generate outputs from it. Turing’s idea for this machine was used by a great many other scientists to build all these devices that ultimately lead to pocket-sized computers that allow us to use apps, make calls, and participate in a wide range of activities with data while engaging with other humans or businesses.
During World War II, Turing worked at Bletchley Park for British Intelligence and was instrumental in breaking the Nazi communication code that used the Enigma machine. Without Turing’s work,the war [would have] continued for another two to three years, a further 14 to 21 million people might have been killed“. Turing famously theorized that machines could ultimately fool humans into thinking they are humans, too. His 1950 paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence begins with the following: I propose to consider the question, “Can machines think?” and lays the groundwork for Artificial Intelligence research. On yet another level, you meet Turing’s innovation when you activate your online accounts or reset your password. Each time you provide to a machine that you can pick out specific images from a lineup of photos that may feature cars, donuts, or other everyday opbjects, you from a perform a CAPTCHA, a Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart .
Watch the following video celebrating the life of this innovative individual.