Intelligent Machinery

Revisiting Turings views on AIs

Keno Leon
7 min readNov 21, 2022


Ai generated and colorized Images of an older Alan Turing we sadly never got.

Alan Turing is widely considered one of the fathers of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence yet probably better known for his contributions to decoding encrypted messages during world war II. Today we’ll take a look at one of his papers ( Intelligent Machinery ) to see how things have aged since those days ( 3/4 of a century has passed ! )…In short in some regards great and in others not so much.

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⚠️ The original text can be found online if you wish to follow along.


The paper concerns itself with machinery that might show intelligent behavior, we now call these machine AIs or simply computer programs…

Paraphrasing the thesis can be summed by the argument: "Human level intelligence can only be achieved if adequate training is provided."

We unfortunately need to be critical and so the main problem with this argument is that Turing is both right and wrong about learning and intelligence:

It is true ( or most likely ) you need learning for intelligence, but it is not encompassing of everything we currently understand constitutes intelligence ( never mind consciousness/human