I. J. Good

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Irving John Good (9 December 1916 – 5 April 2009) was a British mathematician who worked as a cryptologist at Bletchley Park with Alan Turing. After World War II, Good continued to work with Turing on the design of computers and Bayesian statistics at the University of Manchester. Good moved to the United States where he was a University Distinguished Professor in the Statistics Department at Virginia Tech.


  • There may be occasions when it is best to behave irrationally, but whether there are should be decided rationally.
    • Good Thinking: The Foundations of Probability and Its Applications (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1983), first paragraph
  • Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an "intelligence explosion", and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control. It is curious that this point is made so seldom outside of science fiction. It is sometimes worthwhile to take science fiction seriously.
  • The minimum I. Q. necessary for one to grasp the concepts of Statistics required for the undergraduate degree is 120.(paraphrased)
    • (Stated emphatically during an informal gathering of Virginia Tech Stat professors and students at the Greek's bar in Blacksburg, VA, circa 1976.)
Wikipedia has an article about: