Once the Machine Thinking Method Had Started, It Would Not Take Long To Outstrip Our Feeble Powers

Alan Turing? Sara Turing? Stuart Russell? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A pioneering mathematician and computer researcher in the 1950s believed that an intelligent computer system could be built, and “it would not take long to outstrip our feeble powers”. Would you please tell me the name of this person and help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: Alan M. Turing was a major figure in the field of computer science who died in 1954. His mother Sara published a book about his life in 1959, and she included a draft of a lecture he delivered in Manchester, England in 1951. Turing’s address titled “Intelligent Machinery, A Heretical Theory” explored the consequences of building computer systems capable of displaying intelligence. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1]2012 (First Edition 1959; Second Edition 2012), Alan M. Turing: Centenary Edition by Sara Turing, Chapter 14: Computing Machinery, Section: Intelligent Machinery, A Heretical Theory, Start Page 128, … Continue reading

There would be plenty to do in trying, say, to keep one’s intelligence up to the standard set by the machines, for it seems probable that once the machine thinking method had started, it would not take long to outstrip our feeble powers. There would be no question of the machines dying, and they would be able to converse with each other to sharpen their wits. At some stage therefore we should have to expect the machines to take control, in the way that is mentioned in Samuel Butler’s Erewhon.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Once the Machine Thinking Method Had Started, It Would Not Take Long To Outstrip Our Feeble Powers

References

References
1 2012 (First Edition 1959; Second Edition 2012), Alan M. Turing: Centenary Edition by Sara Turing, Chapter 14: Computing Machinery, Section: Intelligent Machinery, A Heretical Theory, Start Page 128, Quote Page 132, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England. (Verified with scans)