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Alan Turing

Date de naissance: 23. juin 1912
Date de décès: 7. juin 1954
Autres noms: एलन ट्यूरिंग, Алан Матисон Тьюринг

Alan Mathison Turing, né le 23 juin 1912 à Londres et mort le 7 juin 1954 à Wilmslow, est un mathématicien et cryptologue britannique, auteur de travaux qui fondent scientifiquement l'informatique.

Pour résoudre le problème fondamental de la décidabilité en arithmétique, il présente en 1936 une expérience de pensée que l'on nommera ensuite machine de Turing et des concepts de programmation et de programme, qui prendront tout leur sens avec la diffusion des ordinateurs, dans la seconde moitié du XXe siècle. Son modèle a contribué à établir définitivement la thèse de Church, qui donne une définition mathématique au concept intuitif de fonction calculable. Après la guerre, il travaille sur un des tout premiers ordinateurs, puis contribue au débat sur la possibilité de l'intelligence artificielle, en proposant le test de Turing. Vers la fin de sa courte vie, il s'intéresse à des modèles de morphogenèse du vivant conduisant aux « structures de Turing ».

Durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, il joue un rôle majeur dans la cryptanalyse de la machine Enigma, utilisée par les armées allemandes. Ses méthodes permirent de casser ce code et, selon plusieurs historiens, de raccourcir la capacité de résistance du régime nazi de deux ans et épargner la vie de quatorze millions de personnes.

En 1952, un fait divers lié à son homosexualité lui vaut des poursuites judiciaires. Pour éviter la prison, il choisit la castration chimique par prise d'œstrogènes. Turing est retrouvé mort dans la chambre de sa maison à Manchester, par empoisonnement au cyanure, le 7 juin 1954. La reine Élisabeth II le gracie à titre posthume en 2013. Il n'a été reconnu comme héros de guerre que 55 ans après sa mort.

„Je crois que dans une cinquantaine d’années il sera possible de programmer des ordinateurs, avec une capacité de mémoire d’à peu près 10⁹, pour les faire si bien jouer au jeu de l’imitation qu’un interrogateur moyen n’aura pas plus de 70 pour cent de chances de procéder à l’identification exacte après cinq minutes d’interrogation.“

—  Alan Turing

I believe that in about fifty years’ time it will be possible to programme computers, with a storage capacity of about 10⁹, to make them play the imitation game so well that an average interrogator will not have more than 70 per cent. chance of mating the right identification after five minutes of questioning.
en
, 1950

„Nous ne savons pas où nous allons, mais du moins il nous reste bien des choses à faire.“

—  Alan Turing

We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.
en
, 1950

Citát „Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.“

„Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.“

—  Alan Turing

Variante: Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.

„Machines take me by surprise with great frequency.“

—  Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence

Source: Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950), p. 450.

„These questions replace our original, "Can machines think?"“

—  Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence

Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950)
Contexte: "Can machines think?"... The new form of the problem can be described in terms of a game which we call the 'imitation game." It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays in a room apart front the other two. The object of the game for the interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman. He knows them by labels X and Y, and at the end of the game he says either "X is A and Y is B" or "X is B and Y is A." The interrogator is allowed to put questions to A and B... We now ask the question, "What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game?" Will the interrogator decide wrongly as often when the game is played like this as he does when the game is played between a man and a woman? These questions replace our original, "Can machines think?"

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„Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity.“

—  Alan Turing, Systems of Logic Based on Ordinals

"Systems of Logic Based on Ordinals," section 11: The purpose of ordinal logics (1938), published in Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society, series 2, vol. 45 (1939)
In a footnote to the first sentence, Turing added: "We are leaving out of account that most important faculty which distinguishes topics of interest from others; in fact, we are regarding the function of the mathematician as simply to determine the truth or falsity of propositions."
Contexte: 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.

„We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.“

—  Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence

Source: Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950), p. 460.
Source: Computing machinery and intelligence

„The view that machines cannot give rise to surprises is due, I believe, to a fallacy to which philosophers and mathematicians are particularly subject. This is the assumption that as soon as a fact is presented to a mind all consequences of that fact spring into the mind simultaneously with it. It is a very useful assumption under many circumstances, but one too easily forgets that it is false.“

—  Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence

Source: Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950), p. 451.
Contexte: The view that machines cannot give rise to surprises is due, I believe, to a fallacy to which philosophers and mathematicians are particularly subject. This is the assumption that as soon as a fact is presented to a mind all consequences of that fact spring into the mind simultaneously with it. It is a very useful assumption under many circumstances, but one too easily forgets that it is false. A natural consequence of doing so is that one then assumes that there is no virtue in the mere working out of consequences from data and general principles.

„The majority of them seem to be "sub-critical," i.e., to correspond in this analogy to piles of sub-critical size. An idea presented to such a mind will on average give rise to less than one idea in reply. A smallish proportion are super-critical. An idea presented to such a mind may give rise to a whole "theory" consisting of secondary, tertiary and more remote ideas.“

—  Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence

Source: Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950), p. 454.
Contexte: Another simile would be an atomic pile of less than critical size: an injected idea is to correspond to a neutron entering the pile from without. Each such neutron will cause a certain disturbance which eventually dies away. If, however, the size of the pile is sufficiently increased, the disturbance caused by such an incoming neutron will very likely go on and on increasing until the whole pile is destroyed. Is there a corresponding phenomenon for minds, and is there one for machines? There does seem to be one for the human mind. The majority of them seem to be "sub-critical," i. e., to correspond in this analogy to piles of sub-critical size. An idea presented to such a mind will on average give rise to less than one idea in reply. A smallish proportion are super-critical. An idea presented to such a mind may give rise to a whole "theory" consisting of secondary, tertiary and more remote ideas. Animals minds seem to be very definitely sub-critical. Adhering to this analogy we ask, "Can a machine be made to be super-critical?"

„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.“

—  Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence

Source: Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950), pp. 443-444.
Contexte: 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.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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