Turing's man: a dialogue [Book Review]

AI and Society 28 (1):21-25 (2013)
soft servants of durable material: they live without pretension in complicated relays and electrical circuits. Speed, docility are their strength. One asks: “What is 2 × 2?”—“Are you a machine?” They answer or refuse to answer, depending on what you demand. There are, however, other machines as well, more abstract automatons, bolder and more inaccessible, which eat their tape in mathematical formulae. They imitate in language. In infinite loops, farther and farther back in their retreat towards more subtle algorithms, more recursive functions. They are logical and describe themselves. As when a man with a hand-mirror pressed against his nose in front of a mirror sees in infinite rows the same image multiplied in a shrinking, darkening corridor of glass. It is a Gödel theorem as good as any. He sees infinity, but what he does not see is his face. (From Göran Printz-Påhlson´s poem “The Turing Machine” published in Säg minns du skeppet Refanut? Samlade dikter 1950–1983 (1984) Bonniers, Stockholm).
Keywords The Turing Machine  Gödel theorem  Breaking the code  Enlightenment  Automatons  Technological society
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DOI 10.1007/s00146-012-0407-1
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