Panel: Alan Turing – Visionary and Genuis

On August 11, 2012, in News, Panel, Summit, by Adam Ford

Of special significance this year is the centenary of Alan Turing’s birth. This panel will have focus on Alan Turing and his unique impact on the history of computing, computer science, artificial intelligence, developmental biology, and the mathematical theory of computability.

Panelists include Marcus Hutter, David Dowe, and James Harland. Craig Pearce will give an introduction and will moderate the panel.

Panelists will likely differ on finer points and will look at the topic from different angles though at the same time grounded in significant research. A dash of debate will be encouraged.

The level of audience sophistication will vary, though a significant portion will have enough background to appreciated the finer and more technical points.

The point of this panel is to explore: the significance of Alan Turing’s work, and how it is being used today.
Agenda bullet points (ruff):

  • Alan Turing’s and his impact on history of computing, comp sci, AI, and mathematical theory of computability
  • Turings role in cryptography and its impact on ww2
  • The Turing test, and its modern variants
  • Chatterbots, where are we now? and instrumental definitions on intelligence, how do we know a when an AI is intelligent?
  • Turing trains?

June 23 marks the 100th birthday of Alan Turing. Turing’s genius played a major role in helping turn the tide of WW2 — cracking and re-cracking of Germany’s Enigma cipher allowed for a naval blockade against the Third Reich. That single espionage victory gave the United States control of the Atlantic shipping lanes, eventually setting the stage for the 1944 invasion of Normandy.

“Turing was born into a world that was very different, culturally and technologically, yet his contribution has never been more important.

His is a story of astounding highs and devastating lows. A story of a genius whose mathematical insights helped save thousands of lives, yet who was unable to save himself from social condemnation, with tragic results. Ultimately though, it’s a story of a legacy that laid the foundations for the modern computer age.” – Vint Cerf – BBC Article

1 Response » to “Panel: Alan Turing – Visionary and Genuis”

  1. Iza says:

    Alan Turing didn’t actually crack the Enigma code. This was done much earlier by Polish mathematicians: Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski. Just before the war broke out, they gave all information, including their original ‘bomba’, to cryptographers at Bletchley Park, who then improved the device. For many years, the Great Britain refused to acknowledge Polish contribution. In fact, it wasn’t until late 2000 that this historical inaccuracy was finally corrected: UK gives Enigma machine to Poles
    See also ‘Breaking Germany’s Enigma Code’

    Over a decade later, many publications and historians (who should know better!) still call Alan Turing ‘the codebreaker’. I find it hard to believe that, if he was still alive, he would be willing to claim credit for something he didn’t do.

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