Think or swim

Bryan Appleyard's review (Books, 19 April) touched upon the enigma of the "thinking machine". It brought to mind the brilliant mathematician, Alan Turing, whose work in that sphere so aided the work at Bletchley Park, which in turn did so much to win the war at sea. Asked whether his machine could "think", he replied: "That is rather like my asking whether your submarines can swim."

R H J Williams

This article first appeared in the 26 April 1999 issue of the New Statesman, The great Balkan lie