Tracey S Rosenberg

the inspiration behind Tracey S Rosenberg’s poem, ‘Perceptions of the Turing Machine’

Given that I’m poet-in-residence for an artificial intelligence consulting firm, I feel as though I should have written an AI-related poem long before this!

A lot of my writing stems from attempting to view things from other angles, even if those are deeply unpleasant.  One of my cancer sonnets contains a quatrain from the perspective of the malignant cells themselves, while my debut novel, The Girl in the Bunker, examines the final days in Hitler’s bunker from the viewpoint of Joseph Goebbels’s twelve-year-old daughter.  More innocuously, my Rhysling-nominated poem ‘Inside the Box’ is narrated by Schrodinger’s cat.  (And no, the cat doesn’t give away the ending.)

So it seemed only natural to write about the Turing machine in such a way as to attempt to determine what the machine itself thinks about what it does, and the scope of its existence.  Whether I did so in a believable way is, of course, an exercise left to the reader.  I can’t now remember why I chose a first-person plural perspective, but (as with many writing decisions) it made the best sense at the time.  I think I felt that saying ‘I’ throughout would give the machine too much ego, and that ‘we’ allowed more scope for the reader to enter into the thought process.

Many thanks to Chris, who taught me a lot about NP-complete problems as related to stacking newly-washed dishes on the draining board, as well as to Dan, Joe, and the Winterwell Associates crew.


‘Perceptions of the Turing Machine’ is included in Tracey’s debut poetry pamphlet, Lipstick is Always a Plus (Stewed Rhubarb Press, 2012)


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