Alan Turing a Visionary

19 Jan

Alan Turing seems like a very interesting historical figure.  Thanks to horiicissp12 for the youtube video briefly giving a view of Turings life.  It talked about how he developed a computer ,Pilot Ace, that was designed to break German telegraph codes.  Up until then in the WWII era computers were only being used for complex math equations.  Turing was apparently renowned for thinking outside the box when it came to technological development. He helped develop the code breaking Computer Colossus that had a great impact on ending the war.  The video really caught my attention when it talked about How Turing was not interested in using computers like Colossus for the war purposes that it was being used for, but to see if he could simulate human thought through computers.  Artificial intelligence is most definitely something that I am interested in.  There is so much science fiction that I love surrounding the idea of AI (artificial Intelligence) but in our modern-day world it is not so far from the truth.  Science has allowed us to push the bounds of creating computers and programs that can learn, but there has not yet been any truly functioning self-sufficient AI, because of the complexities surrounding the human brain and its inner workings.

Alan Turings thought on AI reminded me of the Anime series called Ghost in the shell.  This is an excellent series that started out as a manga, and Animated movie that later sparked an interest for 2 seasons of an anime and a few more movies.  It is set in the not so far future and depicts humans sporting digitized brains as well as robots with fully functioning AI.  The show seems like such a fantasy and brings up a lot of questions relating to what defines a living soul related to AI and transferring a normal human brain into computer data.  when I did some research in the current field of processing human brains with computer technology, Scientist have been making great strides in actually retrieving images and video from the human brain.  In 2008 Scientists from Japan’s ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories developed software to retrieve simple black and white images from the brain, 10×10 pixels, that could be displayed on the computer monitor.  Here is a link to an article on that.  This alone blew me away.  but then apparently even more recently Scientist at UC Berkley have been able to retributive color video of video samples shown to subjects.  Here’s a news story covering it as well as a video.  Although blurry it is mind-blowing. (No pun intended)  the images are produced by sifting through already existing videos on YouTube, basically predictions of what the brain activity suggests but amazing none the less.This opens up such a vast realm of possibilities with technology like this, recording your dreams or even the possibility of making copies of your brain perhaps in the future, like in Ghost in the shell.  I think If Turing lived long enough he would be amazed at the progress that computing has made since his time.

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2 Responses to “Alan Turing a Visionary”

  1. lockmantuj January 23, 2012 at 5:03 AM #

    I’m having a hard time imaging brain waves being turned in to a video image. The way you describe it, your conclusion is exactly what I was imagining. It seems it should eventually be possible to make a digital reproduction of a brain.

    Modern life certainly has aspects of science fiction to it.

  2. Ken Hayashi January 24, 2012 at 5:59 PM #

    I supposed I learned a thing or two from that BBC documentary. Well done on the explanation of Alan Turing and everything about the AI!

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