Victor Tapner

the inspiration behind Victor Tapner’s poem, ‘The Limitations of Artificial Intelligence’


In truth, I had only a sketchy knowledge about Turing and his work before I started writing this poem. I was researching a science-based sequence, and for a long while I’d had in my notes the simple reminder: ‘Alan Turing, computer pioneer’. It’s difficult to read about his life without being astonished by his achievements and, at the same time, appalled by the intolerance and hypocrisy of the times. I worked on many drafts, striving to nail the poem’s central theme, and kept returning to this critical point of tension: Turing was cutting a path to the computer age while being pulled back into a Victorian code of morality. Ultimately though, for me, it’s a poem about the struggle between emotion and intellect that tries to imagine the despair Turing might have been suffering as he contemplated his apparent suicide.

author photo: Victor Tapner


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