The 30 Greatest Alan Turing Quotes Ever

Alan Turing, who is a math genius, was never truly praised for contributing to some of the greatest achievements in our history. Thankfully, The Imitation Game film exposed his unbelievable honors as he cracked an enigma code that ended World War 2 early by about 2 to 4 years and saved approximately over 14 million lives. Turing was a pure non-conformist who was gay during a period in history where it was strongly opposed, yet he remained secretive until he couldn’t hold it in no longer. He made numerous breakthrough’s in science, math, particularly on the subject of relativity and is the founder of computer science and dominant technology. If these are not significant enough impacts on our civilization, let’s not forget he was also a well known marathon runner. With all these accolades it is almost a formidable debate to suggest he was one of the most brilliant, successful and greatest minds in the history of evolution. With that said, let’s take a look at the 30 greatest Alan Turing quotes from his major papers, his genius insights and from the recent Hollywood film.


1.) An Underdog At Heart (From The Imitation Game):

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.” – Alan Turing

2.) On Ignorant Human Thinking: 

“I’m afraid that the following syllogism may be used by some in the future. Turing believes machines think. Turing lies with men. Therefore machines do not think. Yours in distress, Alan” Alan Turing

3.) Solution Orientated:

“We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.” – Alan Turing


“No, I’m not interested in developing a powerful brain. All I’m after is just a mediocre brain, something like the President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company.” Alan Turing

5.) A Hopeful Catalyst Of The Future:

“It seems probable that once the machine thinking method had started, it would not take long to outstrip our feeble powers. 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.” – Alan Turing

6.) His 1950 Definition Of The Turing Test:

“A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human.” – Alan Turing


“I like solving problems, Commander. And Enigma is the most difficult problem in the world.” Alan Turing

8.) The Pioneer Of The Computer:

“Machines take me by surprise with great frequency.” Alan Turing

9.) We All Think Differently:

“Of course machines can’t think as people do. A machine is different from a person. Hence, they think differently. The interesting question is, just because something, uh… thinks differently from you, does that mean it’s not thinking? Well, we allow for humans to have such divergences from one another. You like strawberries, I hate ice-skating, you cry at sad films, I am allergic to pollen. What is the point of… different tastes, different… preferences, if not, to say that our brains work differently, that we think differently? And if we can say that about one another, then why can’t we say the same thing for brains… built of copper and wire, steel?” – Alan Turing

10.) The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis:

“Big yet unfamiliar, think bigger than the biggest bar. Think big; that’s only half as large. Bigger, better, twice as hard.” Alan Turing

11.) Interpreting Violence:

“Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes hollow.” – Alan Turing

12.) The Father Of Computer Science:

“Codes are a puzzle. A game, just like any other game.” – Alan Turing

13.) A Limitless Thinker:

“We may hope that machines will eventually compete with men in all purely intellectual fields.”- Alan Turing


We are not interested in the fact that the brain has the consistency of cold porridge.” – Alan Turing

15.) From A Scene In The Imitation Game:

“Now you decide: Am I a machine? Am I a human? Am I a war hero? Or am I a criminal? ” Alan Turing

16.) A True Divergent Thinker:

“Instead of trying to produce a programme to simulate the adult mind, why not rather try to produce one which simulates the child’s? If this were then subjected to an appropriate course of education one would obtain the adult brain.Alan Turing

17.) An Alan Turing Quote From The Imitation Game:

“What I will need from you now is a commitment. You will listen closely, and you will not judge me until I am finished. If you cannot commit to this, then please leave the room. But if you choose to stay, remember you chose to be here. What happens from this moment forward is not my responsibility. It’s yours. Pay attention.” – Alan Turing

18.) Another Quote From The Imitation Game:

“Are you paying attention? Good. If you are not listening carefully, you will miss things. Important things. I will not pause, I will not repeat myself, and you will not interrupt me. You think that because you’re sitting where you are, and I am sitting where I am, that you are in control of what is about to happen. You’re mistaken. I am in control, because I know things that you do not know.” Alan Turing

19.) A Well Oiled Human Machine:

“A man provided with paper, pencil, and rubber, and subject to strict discipline, is in effect a universal machine.” – Alan Turing


“I believe that at the end of the century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.” Alan Turing

21.) On Theological Arguments:

“I am not very impressed with theological arguments whatever they may be used to support. Such arguments have often been found unsatisfactory in the past.” – Alan Turing

22.) Asking The Better Questions:

“If one wants to make a machine mimic the behaviour of the human computer in some complex operation one has to ask him how it is done, and then translate the answer into the form of an instruction table. Constructing instruction tables is usually described as “programming.” – Alan Turing

23.) On Not Comparing Humans To Machines:

“We do not wish to penalise the machine for its inability to shine in beauty competitions, nor to penalise a man for losing in a race against an aeroplane. The conditions of our game make these disabilities irrelevant.” Alan Turing

24.) Intuition And Ingenuity: 

“Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity. The activity of the intuition consists in making spontaneous judgements which are not the result of conscious trains of reasoning… The exercise of ingenuity in mathematics consists in aiding the intuition through suitable arrangements of propositions, and perhaps geometrical figures or drawings.” – Alan Turing

25.) His Take On Science And Religion:

“Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition.” Alan Turing

26.) On God, Creation And Artificial Intelligence:

“In attempting to construct such (artificially intelligent) machines we should not be irreverently usurping His (God’s) power of creating souls, any more than we are in the procreation of children. Rather we are, in either case, instruments of His will providing mansions for the souls that He creates.” Alan Turing

27.) His Life’s Purpose:

“I am building a brain.” Alan Turing

28.) On Space-Time:

“A very large part of space-time must be investigated, if reliable results are to be obtained.” Alan Turing

29.) On His Sexual Orientation And How He Felt About Not Being Accepted:

“I’ve now got myself into the kind of trouble that I have always considered to be quite a possibility for me, though I have usually rated it at about 10:1 against. I shall shortly be pleading guilty to a charge of sexual offences with a young man. The story of how it all came to be found out is a long and fascinating one, which I shall have to make into a short story one day, but haven’t the time to tell you now. No doubt I shall emerge from it all a different man, but quite who I’ve not found out.” Alan Turing


“Finding such a person makes everyone else appear so ordinary…and if anything happens to him, you’ve got nothing left but to return to the ordinary world, and a kind of isolation that never existed before.” Alan Turing

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