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Turing Word Cloud

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"Can machines think?"

"Is it that you don't think I give enough credit to Germans? Because I am about to mention a fellow with an umlaut." - fictional Alan Turing in Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon


Knowing that 2012 was the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing's birth, we wanted to do something to celebrate his life. But what? We tossed around a few ideas, but nothing seemed appropriate. Not dignified enough. Not grand enough. Nothing expressed at the correct scale how, had he not existed, everything in computing today would be different. There would probably still be 1s and 0s, sure, but how we conceive of artificial intelligence would be vastly different, or at least less evolved. Not to mention the course of history might have been very different had his work at Bletchley Park not happened. You understand, ja?

We decided that his own words were the most fitting tribute. So a few minutes with Wordle, some extensive tweaking from our designers, and we turned out this, the text of "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," published by Turing in 1950. We grinned when we saw "behaviour," but it's how "mind" showed up inside "machine" (click on the design above) that sold it for us.

A collection of the most-frequently-occuring non-common words from "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" in white, fluorescent blue, and fluorescent green on a charcoal grey, 100% cotton t-shirt.

And we'll close with these words from the visionary:

We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.
Indeed, sir. Indeed we can.

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