What Turing Himself Said About the Imitation Game

The mathematician and cryptanalyst explained his famous test of computer intelligence during two BBC radio broadcasts in the early 1950s

9 min read
Photo: Archivio GBB/Contrasto/Redux; Photo-Illustration: Chad Hagen
Photo: Archivio GBB/Contrasto/Redux; Photo-Illustration: Chad Hagen

opening illustration for Turing feature Photo-Illustration: Chad Hagen; Photo: Archivio GBB/Contrasto/Redux

The Imitation Game, the recent biopic about Alan Turing’s efforts to decipher Nazi naval codes, was showered with award nominations. It even won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. One thing it won’t win any awards for, though, is its portrayal of the “imitation game” itself—Turing’s proposed test of machine thinking, which hinges on whether a computer can convincingly imitate a person. The Turing test, as it is now called, doesn’t really feature in the film. (Given that the movie gets so much of the history wrong, perhaps that’s a good thing.)

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Engineers Are Working on a Solar Microgrid To Outlast Lunar Nights

Future lunar bases will need power for mining and astronaut survival

4 min read
A rendering of a lunar base. In the foreground are rows of solar panels and behind them are two astronauts standing in front of a glass dome with plants inside.
P. Carril/ESA

The next time humans land on the moon on the moon, they intend to stay awhile. For the Artemis program program, NASA and its collaborators want to build a sustained presence on the moon, which includes setting up a base at which astronauts can live and work.

One of the crucial elements for a functioning lunar base is a power supply. Sandia National Laboratories, a research and development lab that specializes in building microgrids for military bases, is teaming up with NASA to design one that will work on the moon.

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Trilobite-Inspired Camera Boasts Huge Depth of Field

New camera relies on “metalenses” that could be fabricated using a standard CMOS foundry

3 min read
Black and white image showing different white box shapes in rows

Scanning electron microscope image of the titanium oxide nanopillars that make up the metalens. The scale is 500 nanometers (nm).

NIST

Inspired by the eyes of extinct trilobites, researchers have created a miniature camera with a record-setting depth of field—the distance over which a camera can produce sharp images in a single photo. Their new study reveals that with the aid of artificial intelligence, their device can simultaneously image objects as near as 3 centimeters and as far away as 1.7 kilometers.

Five hundred million years ago, the oceans teemed with horseshoe-crab-like trilobites. Among the most successful of all early animals, these armored invertebrates lived on Earth for roughly 270 million years before going extinct.

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