The Legacy of Alan Turing: Revolutionizing AI and Computers

Zahid Parvez
4 min readJan 10, 2023

Alan Turing is considered to be one of the fathers of artificial intelligence. His work laid the foundation for many of the theoretical and practical advancements that have been made in the field.

Harvard scholar Steven Pinker summed up his work in a sentence:

“It would be an exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing explained the nature of logical and mathematical reasoning, invented the digital computer, solved the mind-body problem, and saved Western civilisation. But it would not be much of an exaggeration.”

Alan Turing (1928)

Early work

In 1936, Turing published a paper called “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem,” in which he introduced the concept of a universal machine, which came to be known as the Turing machine. This theoretical device, which consisted of a simple abstract machine that could read and write symbols on a tape, was capable of performing any computation that could be expressed as an algorithm. Turing’s paper showed that any problem that can be solved by a human using a mechanical process (i.e., an algorithm) could also be solved by a machine.

In the 1940s, Turing worked on the development of the Bombe, an electro-mechanical machine that was used to decrypt messages encrypted by the German Enigma machine during World War II. The Bombe was one of the first examples of a computer being used to perform a complex and useful task, and it played a crucial role in the war effort.

The Turing Imitation Game

After the war, Turing turned his attention to the question of machine intelligence. In 1950, he published a paper called “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” in which he proposed the Turing test as a way to determine whether or not a machine is capable of thinking. The test involves a human judge engaging in a natural language conversation with a machine and a human, and if the judge cannot consistently tell which is which, then the machine is said to have passed the test and to be capable of thinking.

Here’s how the test is typically set up: A human judge (C) engages in natural language conversations with another human (B) and a machine (A), and then decides which of…

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Zahid Parvez

I am an analyst with a passion for data, software, and integration. In my free time, I also like to dabble in design, photography, and philosophy.