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Machines, minds and computers
Machines, minds and computers

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4.1.2 Automatic formal systems

As I expect you've guessed, an automatic formal system is simply one that works by itself, without any outside intervention. This does mean that the system requires another component, a referee that enforces the rules. In the case of chess, this means ensuring that players don't move out of turn, setting up the start position correctly, monitoring the legality of moves, and so on. Of course, most chess players will abide by these rules anyway; although at the highest levels of human play, there are referees. Recall the extract from Turing's paper 'Computing machinery and intelligence' – the referee function we're talking about here is exactly what Turing meant by the control unit. Its job is to ensure the system's algorithms are followed correctly.

For automatic formal systems, then, the Principle of Automation applies.