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See the previous Scrapbook page for the relationship between Turing and his universal machine, the mathematician Max Newman, and the engineers led by F. In 1949 the brain surgeon Geoffrey Jefferson spoke out against it in a lecture 'The Mind of Mechanical Man'.In response, Turing told the London that 'their research would be directed to finding out...to what extent [the machine] could think for itself.' Of course, this was in no way the official purpose of the Computing Laboratory, and was at variance with anything Newman or Williams would have said.Controversial and provocative, Alan Turing went on to write the 1950 paper as his own individual contribution, making very few references to other people's ideas.It went back to to the 1936 Turing machine modelling the human mind, and the developments which flowed out of wartime work at Bletchley Park.Turing's 1950 paper is best read as the successor to two earlier papers, unpublished in Turing's own lifetime.
The producer had doubts about his talents as a media star, writing that he Turing took part in a further radio discussion in January 1952. But the scripts can be read in the Turing Archive: 1951 talk and 1952 discussion.He was fully aware that his propositions contradicted widely held assumptions about the uniqueness of human abilities and happily called himself 'a heretic' putting forward an unpopular view.Turing's discussion of 'intelligent machinery' did not begin in 1950.A large interdisciplinary Discussion on the Mind and the Computing Machine was held at Manchester on 27 October 1949. Reading the transcript is rather like reading the conversations generated by computers, described on the next page.Few of the discussions can stick to a point or actually address a question! From the discussion of Gödel's theorem, to the reference to 'neural networks, to the connection with detailed brain physiology, all the topics are completely relevant today.