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September 21, 2009

So, I was reading Turing’s “Turing Test” essay, and I came across the following passage. Turing has set forth the question, “Can machines think?” and to answer it, he’s trying to come up with a definition of “machine” that would rule out human beings.

One might for instance insist that the team of engineers be all of one sex, but this would not really be satisfactory, for it is probably possible to rear a complete individual from a single cell of the skin (say) of a man. To do so would be a feat of biological technique deserving of the very highest praise, but we would not be inclined to regard it as a case of “constructing a thinking machine.”

Prescient, no? This guy wrote this in 1950, and he wasn’t even a biologist.

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