Artificial Intelligence special
This week’s programme is an AI special brought on by news this week of a call for the goverment to apologise for the odious treatment of the Alan Turing the Grandfather of Artificial Intelligence. I discuss Turing’s importance with the petitioner Dr. John Graham-Cumming, we have a word about the Turing Test from AI guru Professor Yorick Wilkes and I interview the founding father of AI, Professor John McCarthy.
An apology for the treatment of Turing?
This week saw the launch of a petition to the UK goverment asking for an apology for the treatment of the great Alan Turing. Turing who, as well as being credited with shortening WWII with the code breaking enigma machine, gave us foundations of computer science – the Turing machine. He was also instrumental in the development of Artificial Intelligence – although he did not use that term. He made the separation of intelligence (the computer programme) from the machine.
As a reward for his great efforts, he was prosecuted for being homosexual (gross indecency) and given the choice of imprisonment or forced female hormone injections. He chose the latter and committed suicide two years later.
I interivewed the petitioner, Dr John Graham-Cumming about the importance of Turing and why he created the petition. If you feel moved by this story, you can sigh the petition at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/turing/
AI guru Professor Yorick Wilks (Oxford Internet Institute) explains the Turing test.
The man who named AI
About a year ago, I had the good fortune to interview Professor John McCarthy from Stanford University now in his 80s. If Turing is the Grandfather of AI, McCarthy is its Dad. He created the term for the Darmouth AI conference in 1956. In this excerpt from the interview I asked him when he first thought about intelligent computers, why he called the subject Artificial Intelligence and whether it has lived up to his dream.
On Next Week’s Show
A little more history next week (we are usually more of a news programme).
We have a celebration of the 50th anniversay of the hovercraft and then a fresh look at the Mark I computer (1948). I talk to one of the original programmers and then the man who has created an emulation of the Mark I to reconstruct the first AI text generator, “Love Letters”.
Three summer holiday specials
I am on holiday in Italy (Venice) and so I have pre-recorded the next three programmes for normal broadcast. I am giving links to all three programmes here in advance of the broadcasts as I wont be able to update the pages – they are intended to be listened to in order.
Show 62: August 07 2009
My guests this week are Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Harry Kroto telling us what it is like to win the highest scientific honour and Fiona Fox, Director of the Science Media Centre, London talking about scientists and journalists.
Show 63: August 14 2009
My guest this week is Professor Robin Shattock, world authority on prevention of AIDS telling us about AIDS and HIV. This is followed by the regular cafe scientifique insert presented by John Stratford: Power and Sex
Show 64: August 21 2009
My guests this week are Professor Mark Brake on the truth about Gallileo’s work and Professor Colin Allen on the idea of moral machines that can make life or death decisions about us.