Hamlet by a Turing Machine

By | 28 November 2006

Mathematicians, their brains being discrete state machines, can only employ an algorithm. Gödel’s theorem tells us that no algorithm can coincide in every case with truth-seeing, and so the algorithm is bound sometimes to fail. But if it is accepted that the mathematician is not infallible, and will sometimes fail, it follows that machines – also implementing algorithms, and therefore also making mistakes – may do equally well. To illustrate the theme of doing equally well, Turing appealed to the concept of 'fair play for machines.' This concept was essentially the idea of the imitation game. The 1950 scenario merely added dramatic detail. Thus, the imitation game had its origins in the wartime debate in Turing's own mind about how to reconcile Gödel’s theorem and the apparently non-mechanical actions of human minds with the discrete state machine model of the brain.~1

If men create intelligent machines, or fantasize about them, it is either because they secretly despair of their own intelligence or because they are in danger of succumbing to the weight of a monstrous and useless intelligence which they seek to exorcize by transferring it to machines, where they can play with it and make fun of it. By entrusting this burdensome intelligence to machines we are released from any responsibility to knowledge, much as entrusting power to politicians allows us to disdain any aspiration of our own to power.

        If men dream of machines that are unique, that are endowed with genius, it is because they despair of their own uniqueness, or because they prefer to do without it – to enjoy it by proxy, so to speak, thanks to machines. What such machines offer is the spectacle of thought, and in manipulating them people devote themselves more to the spectacle of thought than to thought itself. ~2

But who's there?

By chess,
Denmark, prison, Xerox, .

Turing, inuring, .

and devising device
a net to net
the measure of all your pain and pleasure

Ophelia flee
The program counting

logic of being-
what mask, what acting

end to you
returns

Plato, the equivalent

The rat catcher claims his country foul
And this rotten heir

In your lap
The gap:

Of all that's honest,

in human, inhuman-
The treachery of

and to an unautomated scene
the ghost returns

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