Sunday, November 30, 2014

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Alan Turing's 5 Most Powerful Quotes

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Sorry everyone, but A.I. is totally going to take over
Alan Turing was a war hero and computing pioneer. Now he's also the subject of a biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

With The Imitation Game hitting theaters, it's time to go back to the source and see what the man himself had to say on topics including artificial intelligence and his unjust treatment for being gay.

1. Bad news: machines are totally going to take over.

“It seems probable that once the machine thinking method had started, it would not take long to outstrip our feeble powers," he said during a lecture in 1951. "They would be able to converse with each other to sharpen their wits. At some stage therefore, we should have to expect the machines to take control."

2. Turing feared his sexual orientation would be used to discredit his work.

In a 1952 letter to fellow mathematician Norman Routledge, Turing revealed his big concern about pleading guilty to a criminal charge related to him having had sex with a man — that it would be used to discredit his ideas.

“I'm afraid that the following syllogism may be used by some in the future," Turing wrote.

"Turing believes machines think
"Turing lies with men
"Therefore machines do not think."

3. Turing believed a computer was intelligent if it could trick us.

"A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human," Turing wrote in 1950 defining his now-famous Turing Test. Earlier this year, a computer was said to have passed the Turing Test for the first time, though that claim was controversial and not all experts believe it happened according to Turing's rules.

4. Turing believed machines have the capacity for creativity.

"Machines take me by surprise with great frequency," he wrote in 1950, arguing against critics who said machines only have the capacity to do what we tell them to. 

5. Turing believed by the year 2000, people would accept the idea of A.I.

"I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted," he said in 1947. And he was pretty much right. C-3P0, anyone? 

What Turing quotes are your favorites? Use that nice computer you probably wouldn't have if it weren't for Turing and let us know in the comments.

The Hollywood Reporter by Aaron Couch 4:00 PM PST 11/29/2014


It's all like a dream. Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don't know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is alright forever and forever and forever. Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world, and you will remember the lesson you forgot, which was taught in immense milky way soft cloud innumerable worlds long ago and not even at all.

It is all one vast awakened thing. I call it the golden eternity. It is perfect. We were never really born, we will never really die. It has nothing to do with the imaginary idea of a personal self, other selves, many selves everywhere: Self is only an idea, a mortal idea. That which passes into everything is one thing. It's a dream already ended. There's nothing to be afraid of and nothing to be glad about. I know this from staring at mountains months on end. They never show any expression, they are like empty space. Do you think the emptiness of space will ever crumble away? Mountains will crumble, but the emptiness of space, which is the one universal essence of mind, the vast awakenerhood, empty and awake, will never crumble away because it was never born.”
~ Jack Kerouac ~


Venus, the second planet from the sun, is named for the Roman goddess of love and beauty. The planet — the only planet named after a female — may have been named for the most beautiful deity of her pantheon because it shone the brightest of the five planets known to ancient astronomers.

In ancient times, Venus was often thought to be two different stars, the evening star and the morning star — that is, the ones that first appeared at sunset and sunrise. In Latin, they were respectively known as Vesper and Lucifer. In Christian times, Lucifer, or "light-bringer," became known as the name of Satan before his fall.

Venus and Earth are often called twins because they are similar in size, mass, density, composition and gravity. However, the similarities end there.

Venus is the hottest world in the solar system. Although Venus is not the planet closest to the sun, its dense atmosphere traps heat in a runaway version of the greenhouse effect that warms Earth. As a result, temperatures on Venus reach 870 degrees Fahrenheit (465 degrees Celsius), more than hot enough to melt lead. Probes that scientists have landed there have survived only a few hours before being destroyed.

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This animation demonstrates the visual distortion known as gravitational lensing. A black hole, with roughly the mass of the planet Saturn, is imagined to pass over the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD. The view of the buildings on the far side of the harbor are distorted using the calculated effects of Einstein's general relativity.

A black hole warps the space around it. Light that passes near a black hole will follow curved paths and can create multiple images and other visual artifacts. Note that the sky can sometimes be seen by looking below the black hole. These distortions are similar to what can be produced using glass lenses, and are produced by similar optics equations. The effects are called gravitational lensing - lensing that redirects light using mass instead of glass.

The calculations for the visualization use a planar approximation that assumes the buildings are all at the same distance, but are otherwise accurate. Note also that foreground objects, like the boat mast, were not isolated and removed from the image before distortion. In a fully accurate visualization, foreground objects would not be distorted.

Visualization: Frank Summers (STScI)
Special Thanks: Brian McLeod (Harvard)

Video source: 
A Black Hole Visits Baltimore
Corina Marinescu

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