33+ Best Alan Turing Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Alan Mathison Turing OBE FRS was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher and theoretical biologist. Profoundly inspirational Alan Turing quotes will make you look at life differently and help you live a meaningful life.

Famous Alan Turing Quotes

There is, however, one feature that I would like to suggest should be incorporated in the machines, and that is a ‘random element.’ Each machine should be supplied with a tape bearing a random series of figures, e.g., 0 and 1 in equal quantities, and this series of figures should be used in the choices made by the machine. This would result in the behavior of the machine not being by any means completely determined by the experiences to which it was subjected and would have some valuable uses when one was experimenting with it. – Alan Turing

I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted. – Alan Turing

Bell Labs Cafeteria, New York, 1943: His high-pitched voice already stood out above the general murmur of well-behaved junior executives grooming themselves for promotion within the Bell corporation. Then he was suddenly heard to say: No, I’m not interested in developing a powerful brain. All I’m after is just a mediocre brain, something like the President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. – Alan Turing

In attempting to construct such (artificially intelligent) machines we should not be irreverently usurping His (God’s) power of creating souls, any more than we are in the procreation of children, Turing had advised. Rather we are, in either case, instruments of His will providing mansions for the souls that He creates. – Alan Turing

If a machine is expected to be infallible, it cannot also be intelligent. – Alan Turing

The original question, ‘Can machines think?’ I believe to be too meaningless to deserve discussion. – Alan Turing

A very large part of space-time must be investigated, if reliable results are to be obtained. – Alan Turing

We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done. – Alan Turing

It seems probable that once the machine thinking method had started, it would not take long to outstrip our feeble powers… They would be able to converse with each other to sharpen their wits. At some stage therefore, we should have to expect the machines to take control. – Alan Turing

We may hope that machines will eventually compete with men in all purely intellectual fields. But which are the best ones to start with? Many people think that a very abstract activity, like the playing of chess, would be best. It can also be maintained that it is best to provide the machine with the best sense organs that money can buy, and then teach it to understand and speak English. – Alan Turing

A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human. – Alan Turing

Instruction tables will have to be made up by mathematicians with computing experience and perhaps a certain puzzle-solving ability. There need be no real danger of it ever becoming a drudge, for any processes that are quite mechanical may be turned over to the machine itself. – Alan Turing

Instead of trying to produce a program to simulate the adult mind, why not rather try to produce one which simulates the child’s? If this were then subjected to an appropriate course of education one would obtain the adult brain. – Alan Turing

Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity. The activity of the intuition consists in making spontaneous judgements which are not the result of conscious trains of reasoning. The exercise of ingenuity in mathematics consists in aiding the intuition through suitable arrangements of propositions, and perhaps geometrical figures or drawings. – Alan Turing

A man provided with paper, pencil, and rubber, and subject to strict discipline, is in effect a universal machine. – Alan Turing

My little computer said such a funny thing this morning. – Alan Turing

I am not very impressed with theological arguments whatever they may be used to support. Such arguments have often been found unsatisfactory in the past. In the time of Galileo it was argued that the texts, ‘And the sun stood still… and hasted not to go down about a whole day’ (Joshua x. 13) and ‘He laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not move at any time’ (Psalm cv. 5) were an adequate refutation of the Copernican theory. – Alan Turing

Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes hollow. – Alan Turing

Up to a point, it is better to just let the snags [bugs] be there than to spend such time in design that there are none. – Alan Turing

The Exclusion Principle is laid down purely for the benefit of the electrons themselves, who might be corrupted (and become dragons or demons) if allowed to associate too freely. – Alan Turing

The idea behind digital computers may be explained by saying that these machines are intended to carry out any operations which could be done by a human computer. – Alan Turing

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. – Alan Turing

Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition. – Alan Turing

These disturbing phenomena [Extra Sensory Perception] seem to deny all our scientific ideas. How we should like to discredit them! Unfortunately, the statistical evidence, at least for telepathy, is overwhelming. – Alan Turing

One day ladies will take their computers for walks in the park and tell each other, My little computer said such a funny thing this morning. – Alan Turing

I’m afraid that the following syllogism may be used by some in the future. Turing believes machines think Turing lies with men Therefore machines do not think Yours in distress, Alan – Alan Turing

Codes are a puzzle. A game, just like any other game. – Alan Turing

When we want to sink a convoy, we send out an observation plane first… Of course, to observe is not its real duty, we already know exactly where the convoy is. Its real duty is to be observed…Then, when we come around and sink them, the Germans will not find it suspicious. – Alan Turing

Unless in communicating with it one says exactly what one means, trouble is bound to result. – Alan Turing

No, I’m not interested in developing a powerful brain. All I’m after is just a mediocre brain, something like the President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. – Alan Turing

Programming is a skill best acquired by practice and example rather than from books. – Alan Turing

Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine. – Alan Turing

We are not interested in the fact that the brain has the consistency of cold porridge. – Alan Turing

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