George Dyson in Edge.org:
Machines that behave unpredictably tend to be viewed as malfunctioning, unless we are playing games of chance. Alan Turing, namesake of the infallible, deterministic, Universal machine, recognized (in agreement with Richard Foreman) that true intelligence depends on being able to make mistakes. “If a machine is expected to be infallible, it cannot also be intelligent,” he argued in 1947, drawing this conclusion as a direct consequence of Kurt Gödel’s 1931 results.
“The argument from Gödel’s [theorem] rests essentially on the condition that the machine must not make mistakes,” he explained in 1948. “But this is not a requirement for intelligence.” In 1949, while developing the Manchester Mark I for Ferranti Ltd., Turing included a random number generator based on a source of electronic noise, so that the machine could not only compute answers, but occasionally take a wild guess.
More here. And as usual, Marvin Minsky brutally cuts through the seemingly (at first) profound nonsense:
Mr. Foreman complains that he is being replaced (by “the pressure of information overload”) with “a new self that needs to contain less and less of an inner repertory of dense cultural inheritance” because he is connected to “that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button.”
I think that this is ridiculous because I don’t see any basic change; there always was too much information. Fifty years ago, if you went into any big library, you would have been overwhelmed by the amounts contained in the books therein. Furthermore, that “touch of a button” has improves things in two ways: (1) it has change the time it takes to find a book from perhaps several minutes into several seconds, and (2) in the past date usually took many minutes, or even hours, to find what you want to find inside that book—but now, a Computer can help you can search through the text, and I see this as nothing but good.
Indeed, it seems to me that only one thing has gone badly wrong. I do not go to libraries any more, because I can find most of what I want by using that wonderful touch of a button! However the copyright laws have gotten worse—and I think that the best thoughts still are in books because, frequently, in those ancient times, the authors developed their ideas for years well for they started to publicly babble. Unfortunately, not much of that stuff from the past fifty years is in the public domain, because of copyrights.