# Alan Turing’s Turing Test and Its Contribution to Computer Science

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This is pretty cool

# Intro

Alan Turing is a very prominent figure in the realm of computer science. A number of his scientific findings and processes are still used today. Some of his revolutionary findings and processes previously had been criticized, but are now used in conjunction with other, more developed scientific findings and processes. Alan Turing’s inventions, findings, processes, and mathematical abilities have significantly shaped modern computer science to what it is today.

# Alan Turing’s Life

Alan Turing was a very intelligent person, and that helped him develop many scientific findings that benefit computer science today. He attended a private boarding school, Sherborne School, and later attended King’s College, where he wrote papers that would revolutionize computer science. After King’s College, he would study in Princeton, NJ and attend Princeton University. During WWII, he would be one of the leading participants in wartime code-breaking. Lastly, he would work on the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE), a computer system that many of the world’s first personal computers were modeled after (“Alan Turing”). All of Turing’s advancements have revolutionized computer science, and helped shape it into what it is today.

# Alan Turing’s Schooling

Alan Turing was born on June 23, 1912 in Maida Vale, UK. In his early years, he began to show signs of being very intelligent. At the age of thirteen, he attended the Sherborne School, a private boarding school, where he became very interested in math and science. After Sherborne, he attended King’s College, where he wrote two papers that had revolutionary scientific processes and findings that helped shape computer science into what it is today. One of those papers, now named the Turing Test, is one of the most revolutionary from his works at King’s College. One of his most famous quotes relating to the development of computer science is: “A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human” (“Alan Turing”). This quote, among other advancements Turing made throughout his life, has helped revolutionize computer science, and helped shape computer science as we think of it.

# Alan Turing’s Later Breakthroughs

After King’s College, Turing also studied mathematics and cryptology at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton and then took a part-time job with the Government Code and Cypher School, a British code-breaking organization. Turing was also one of the leading participants in wartime code-breaking during WWII. Most of the time he would decode the codes of German ciphers. He made five large advances in cryptanalysis, the most famous of which is known as the bombe. This device was used to help decipher German Enigma ciphers, and is well known as the Enigma Machine.

# Alan Turing after WWII

After WWII, Turing moved to London, and he began working for the National Physical Laboratory. While Turing was there, he was head of the Automatic Design Work team for the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE). ACE was never finished, but technology corporations modeled their designs after it, and the world’s first personal computer was built (“Alan Turing”). Alan Turing’s works were extremely important to the development of computer science, and has helped shape it into what it is today.

# Alan Turing’s Turing Test and Other Breakthroughs

Alan Turing wrote two papers that would impact computer science, and create a base for the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI). One of those papers, named the Turing Test, is used to test AI to see how “humanlike” it is. The second paper is named “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem” (Kelkar). “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem” has various breakthroughs in the realm of computer science such as what is, and what is not “computable”. Both of these papers are revolutionary, have been used to help develop AI, and also impact computer science.

# Alan Turing’s Turing Test

During Alan Turing’s life, he made many significant breakthroughs in the realm of computer science. One of the largest breakthroughs he made was the Turing Test in 1950. The Turing Test is to see if machines can “think” (Turing *Computing Machinery*), and the Turing Test was also used to see how humanlike a machine was. In the Turing Test, Alan Turing says that there are many different things a machine has to be asked in order to pass the test, and to see if the machine or Artificial Intelligence (AI) can “think” like a human. This test is now used to help test AI, and to see how programmers, and other large development teams can create a humanlike AI. Many computer science classes teach the basic concepts of the Turing Test. The class is usually a “Theory of Computation” class (Kelkar). Understanding Alan Turing’s theories has been very beneficial in the development of AI and the improvement of computer science.

**Alan Turing’s “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem”**

Alan Turing also wrote the paper “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem” (Kelkar), which talks about what is and what is not computable. In the paper, Turing notes the following about computable numbers: “computable numbers are those whose decimals are calculable by finite means” (Turing *On Computable Numbers, With An Application To The Entscheidungsproblem*). There are also many other important breakthroughs in this paper. This thought, among many of Turing’s breakthroughs, has helped shape computer science into what it is today by theorizing possible computations, and creating a test that we still use to this day, alongside other tests, in order to improve AI.

# The Effects of the Turing Test on Computer Science

Turing’s work is still used today. The first time it was used was with early AI, or an old computer game, named “ELIZA” (Gewirtz). ELIZA showed early features of Alexa, Google Assistant, and other AIs (Gewirtz). More recently, Google Duplex, a feature that calls and makes reservations for you from Google Assistant, has also passed the Turing Test (Gewirtz). Many other tests have been presented as an alternative, or as a test alongside Turing’s. One of the most recent, and more widely used tests, or papers, is “The Winograd Schema Challenge” (Levesque). In “The Winograd Schema Challenge,” Hector J. Levesque, Ernest Davis, and Leora Morgenstern note: “In this paper, we present an alternative to the Turing Test that has some conceptual and practical advantages” (Levesque). “The Winograd Schema Challenge” also notes problems with the Turing Test: “note the central role of *deception*. Consider the case of a future intelligent machine trying to pass the test. It must converse with an interrogator and not just show its stuff, but fool her into thinking she is dealing with a *person*. This is just a game, of course, so it’s not really lying” (Levesque). Many other problems are also addressed in this paper. “The Winograd Schema Challenge” is meant to be an alternative, but scientists today use the Turing Test, and “The Winograd Schema Challenge” in conjunction with one another. In fact, “a Turing Test based on Winograd schemas is a much better way to assess a computer’s linguistic and cultural fluency than a simple five-minute conversation. It also sets a much higher bar. All the computers in one such competition in 2016 failed miserably,” (Collins). The Turing Test has played a very influential role in the world of computer science by providing ways to see if a machine or AI is “humanlike”.

# Critics of the Turing Test

Critics of the Turing Test say that the Turing Test does not test intelligence. Instead of showing intelligence, a machine, not an AI, like “Eugene Goostman”, a Russian-designed chatterbot, has structured, pre-programmed algorithms (Dvorsky). While “Eugene” was taking the Turing Test, the usage of an algorithm is present: “[16:13:32] Judge: I like “Hailies song” [16:13:46] Eugene: Interesting tastes. I like science fiction books, by the way. Where do you came from, by the way? Could you tell me about the place where you live?” (Dvorsky). This shows how “Eugene” can simply divert the conversation from a huge list of algorithms. Other problems with the Turing Test include: “[failing] to account for self-awareness or sentience in a machine. Part of the problem is that it [Turing Test] conflates intelligence with sentience; it only tests how subjects act and respond — behaviors that can be simulated” (Dvorsky). Even though scientists have found problems with the Turing Test, it is still a very influential piece in the realm of computer science; it created a base for other tests that are used today. Many testers even use Alan Turing’s test in conjunction with other tests.

# Conclusion

Alan Turing is one of the most revolutionary people in the field of computer science, and he helped shape the field into what it is today. Alan Turing had many breathtaking findings in computer science, written in the papers, “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem,” and the Turing Test. However, critics have changed the way we use Alan Turing’s findings. Now, a lot of his work is still used today in conjunction with other, more developed theories, and has left a revolutionary mark in the field of computer science.

# Works Cited

“Alan Turing.” *Biography.com*, A&E Networks Television, 16 July 2019, www.biography.com/scientist/alan-turing.

Collins, Harry. “Turing Test: Why It Still Matters.” *The Conversation*, The Conversation, 21 Oct. 2019, theconversation.com/turing-test-why-it-still-matters-123468.

Dvorsky, George. “Why The Turing Test Is Bullshit.” *io9*, 9 June 2014, io9.gizmodo.com/why-the-turing-test-is-bullshit-1588051412.

Gewirtz, David. “Google Duplex Beat the Turing Test: Are We Doomed?” *ZDNet*, ZDNet, 14 May 2018, www.zdnet.com/article/google-duplex-beat-the-turing-test-are-we-doomed/.

Kelkar, Shreeharsh. “How Influential Was Alan Turing? The Tangled Invention of Computing (and Its Historiography).” *Platypus*, 24 Mar. 2015, blog.castac.org/2015/03/how-influential-was-turing/.

Levesque, Hector, et al. “The Winograd Schema Challenge.” *Levesque*, www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/KR/KR12/paper/view/4492/4924.

Turing, Alan. *A. M. Turing (1950) Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Mind 49: 433–460. *. www.csee.umbc.edu/courses/471/papers/turing.pdf.

Turing, Alan. *On Computable Numbers, With An Application To The Entscheidungsproblem*. cs.virginia.edu/~robins/Turing_Paper_1936.pdf.