Sparks of wisdom

The Talking Robot had been left behind, ‘A – robot?’
‘Yes, Mr Robot, sir. A robot just like you, except he can’t talk, of course, and – looks like a real person.’
‘A – robot – like – me?’
‘Yes, Mr Robot, sir.’
To which the Talking Robot’s only response was an erratic splutter and an occasional incoherent sound.

I, Robot, I. Asimov (1940)


The popular view that scientists proceed inexorably from well-established fact to well-established fact, never being influenced by any unproved conjecture, is quite mistaken. Provided it is made clear which are proved facts and which are conjectures, no harm can result. Conjectures are of great importance since they suggest useful lines of research.

‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’, A. M. Turing, Mind, New Series, Vol. 59, No. 236 (1950)


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