Talk:Alan Turing

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Good article Alan Turing has been listed as one of the Mathematics good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
December 7, 2005 Good article nominee Listed
May 3, 2006 Featured article candidate Not promoted
August 23, 2007 Good article reassessment Kept
Current status: Good article
High traffic

On 23 June 2012, Alan Turing was linked from Google, a high-traffic website. (See visitor traffic)

Father of A.I.[edit]

In the article there is a quote from the book "Alan Turing: His work and Impact": Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.[5]

While I totally agree with the first part of the sentence, I find odd that someone can be the father of something that has not been invented to this day. For sure Turing was a pioneer, an important theorist of Artificial Intelligence by writing down some of the fundamentals for researching it and inspiring scientists around the world.

But "father" sounds a bit a overstatement. It can be misleading into believing that A.I. has already been accomplished. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.50.121.64 (talk) 10:43, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

I don't agree with that argument. When I, and I think other people who work in AI hear the term "father of AI" it doesn't imply that AI is some concrete thing that has been accomplished. In fact people who are in the field usually don't refer to "an AI" as a thing but rather the "field of AI" which can include all sorts of programs or objects one might consider artificially intelligent, for example on the software side: an agent, or expert system, a chess program, a common sense reasoner, or neural network. Of course you can quibble over whether any of these are truly "intelligent" the way we think humans are intelligent. Most people in the field and I think Turing felt the same way, don't think that is really such an interesting question either way. The interesting thing is solving harder problems that are typically thought of as being beyond what a computer can do not how we label it. --MadScientistX11 (talk) 23:22, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

I agree it is an overstatement. Turing is known for the Turing machine, and the Turing test in AI - but turing machines are mostly conceived as symbol machines that take discrete steps, while most of current AI work seems to revolve around deep thinking and neural networks - which seems to be a different paradigm. It's better to under describe on labels and titles, and instead in detail describe actual accomplishments and work. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.196.158.130 (talk) 17:37, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Removal of cited information[edit]

User:Equilibrium103 has removed cited information from the article with the edit summary "Citation behind paywall, cites no apparent primary sources, and contradicted by letters to Morcom's mother" I've reverted once asking them to take this to talk but have been re-reverted. I'll try again and hopefully this time they will discuss before reverting. Richerman (talk) 09:28, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

Could we see a (non-paywall) link to whatever Morcom's mother had to say? Martinevans123 (talk) 09:36, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
The claim seems dubious. I too would like to see an excerpt from the article. This link appears to be a copy of the article and makes no mention of what was in the text.Jonpatterns (talk) 13:42, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
That's fine, but we can't discount references because they're behind a paywall and to do so and then cite "letters to Morcom's mother" but not give references for them is ridiculous. Nor can we ask for non-paid-for references (Martin, you should know that!). Also, how does the editor know there are no primary sources used in an article they can't read? Richerman (talk) 14:43, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
Actually I'm not sure that is the article quoted - although the citation given is a bit sparse - the title and page numbers don't match. I'm not saying that the information has to stay in, but if we're going to remove it we should do so for the right reasons. Richerman (talk) 14:54, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm reading the book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges right now and if I'm understanding the debate here that book supports removing the information. The text that was removed implied that Christopher Morcom's death is what made Alan an atheist. On p. 138 it says that Alan became an atheist later in life, years after Morcom's death where as at the time of Morcom's death Alan still believed (or at least told Morcom's mother he believed) in the survival of some spirit after death. --MadScientistX11 (talk) 15:35, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
So it sounds as if that book could provide the ideal source, for whatever is left in the article regarding Turing's atheism? Martinevans123 (talk) 15:55, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
IMO, yes I would say so. I'm kind of busy, not doing a lot of Wikipedia editing lately but if no one else picks it up I can do that but I may not get to it for a few days. If someone else has more bandwidth though in the mean time please have at it. BTW, as a side note that book is awesome, the author for once has an outstanding grasp of the math/science issues as well as talking about Turing's life. --MadScientistX11 (talk) 16:26, 15 June 2015 (UTC)

Blacklisted Links Found on Alan Turing[edit]

Cyberbot II has detected links on Alan Turing which have been added to the blacklist, either globally or locally. Links tend to be blacklisted because they have a history of being spammed or are highly inappropriate for Wikipedia. The addition will be logged at one of these locations: local or global If you believe the specific link should be exempt from the blacklist, you may request that it is white-listed. Alternatively, you may request that the link is removed from or altered on the blacklist locally or globally. When requesting whitelisting, be sure to supply the link to be whitelisted and wrap the link in nowiki tags. Please do not remove the tag until the issue is resolved. You may set the invisible parameter to "true" whilst requests to white-list are being processed. Should you require any help with this process, please ask at the help desk.

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  • http://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-grant-a-pardon-to-alan-turing
    Triggered by \bchange\.org\b on the local blacklist

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From your friendly hard working bot.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 17:13, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

Blacklisted Links Found on Alan Turing[edit]

Cyberbot II has detected links on Alan Turing which have been added to the blacklist, either globally or locally. Links tend to be blacklisted because they have a history of being spammed or are highly inappropriate for Wikipedia. The addition will be logged at one of these locations: local or global If you believe the specific link should be exempt from the blacklist, you may request that it is white-listed. Alternatively, you may request that the link is removed from or altered on the blacklist locally or globally. When requesting whitelisting, be sure to supply the link to be whitelisted and wrap the link in nowiki tags. Please do not remove the tag until the issue is resolved. You may set the invisible parameter to "true" whilst requests to white-list are being processed. Should you require any help with this process, please ask at the help desk.

Below is a list of links that were found on the main page:

  • http://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-grant-a-pardon-to-alan-turing
    Triggered by \bchange\.org\b on the local blacklist

If you would like me to provide more information on the talk page, contact User:Cyberpower678 and ask him to program me with more info.

From your friendly hard working bot.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 00:17, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

Philosopher?[edit]

The use of the term "philosopher" does not seem to be justified by the content of the article. He certainly never described himself as a philosopher: [1]. And note also this change at the turing.org website. Martinevans123 (talk) 07:33, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

Blacklisted link[edit]

Why has the change.org source been blacklisted? Why has the bot added two identical templates? What needs to be done? Martinevans123 (talk) 20:08, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

My guess would be that change.org was blacklisted because people were trying to use it as a source for controversial claims. That, I think, would be almost always inappropriate, given that the claims made in petitions are not (AFAIK) fact-checked by anybody except the person who posts the petition. So while the blacklist is a bit of a blunt instrument, the motivation would be understandable.
In this case, it seems that whoever added the link wanted to use change.org, not to substantiate the content of any claim made in a petition, but simply the text of the petition itself. That's a primary source, which Wikipedia generally considers less desirable than secondary sources, but would probably be reasonable in this instance.
However, given that (i) the text of the petition is not really essential to this article, and (ii) primary sources are less desirable, I don't think it makes a lot of sense to plead for a special exemption to the blacklist. I would just go ahead and remove the text of the petition, and limit ourselves to describing it in terms used by reliable secondary sources. --Trovatore (talk) 00:23, 18 August 2015 (UTC)


Oh, another point occurs to me as well. Another possible reason for the blacklist is that there may be a temptation to try to use Wikipedia to raise support for specific change.org petitions. Independently of the merits of any such petition, including the Turing one, that is obviously not part of our encyclopedic mission. --Trovatore (talk) 00:30, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

Blacklisted Links Found on Alan Turing[edit]

Cyberbot II has detected links on Alan Turing which have been added to the blacklist, either globally or locally. Links tend to be blacklisted because they have a history of being spammed or are highly inappropriate for Wikipedia. The addition will be logged at one of these locations: local or global If you believe the specific link should be exempt from the blacklist, you may request that it is white-listed. Alternatively, you may request that the link is removed from or altered on the blacklist locally or globally. When requesting whitelisting, be sure to supply the link to be whitelisted and wrap the link in nowiki tags. Please do not remove the tag until the issue is resolved. You may set the invisible parameter to "true" whilst requests to white-list are being processed. Should you require any help with this process, please ask at the help desk.

Below is a list of links that were found on the main page:

  • http://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-grant-a-pardon-to-alan-turing
    Triggered by \bchange\.org\b on the local blacklist

If you would like me to provide more information on the talk page, contact User:Cyberpower678 and ask him to program me with more info.

From your friendly hard working bot.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 21:02, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

Church's work?[edit]

Re [2]. Was Turing aware of Church's work or not? If so – which is claimed to be very easily shown, as he cites it himself, can we source that properly. Otherwise Hodges' book says he wasn't, and so far that's the only source here.Andy Dingley (talk) 11:03, 4 October 2015 (UTC)

New source: biography by his nephew Dermot Turing[edit]

I heard on the radio this morning about a new biography of Turing, Prof: Alan Turing Decoded written by his nephew Dermot Turing. Dermot is the son of Alan's older brother. Dermot was talking about his uncle on this BBC Radio 4 programme:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06grwnc — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.164.124.57 (talk) 18:08, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

Badly worded, easy change.[edit]

"In 1935, at the age of 22, he was elected a fellow of King's on the strength of a dissertation in which he proved the central limit theorem,[32] despite the fact that the committee had failed to identify that it had already been proven, in 1922, by Jarl Waldemar Lindeberg.[33]"

This should read "in which he proved the central limit theorem, [because] the committee had failed to identify that it had already been proven.." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.196.158.130 (talk) 17:20, 5 February 2016 (UTC)