A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines: Limits of Truth and Mind



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PIRSA Number: 
06100005

Abstract

From Levin’s recent book comes a strange if true story of coded secrets, psychotic delusions, mathematics, and war. This story of greatness and weakness, of genius and delusion, circulates around the parallel lives of Kurt Gödel, the greatest logician of many centuries, and Alan Turing, the extraordinary code breaker during World War II. Taken together their work proved that there are limits to knowledge, that machines could be taught to compute, that one day there could be artificial intelligence. Yet Gödel believed in transmigration of the soul and Turing concluded that we were soulless biological machines. And their suicides were complementary. Gödel, delusional and paranoid, starved himself to death fearing his food was poisoned. Turing ate a poison apple, driven to suicide after being arrested and convicted of homosexual activities. These two men were devoted to truth of the highest abstract nature, yet were unable to grasp the mundane truths of their own lives. Through it all, you will explore, along with these two odd heroes, if any of us can ever really grasp the truth. Madman Dreams, Turing Machines, Turing, Truth, Godel, Mathematical Theory of Everything, Liar\'s Paradox, Turing machine, limits, mathematical truth