21st February 2024

Maths student fails Turing test


Churchill College fresher Marcus Matherton has left scientists shocked after he failed Alan Turing’s renowned test to determine whether a machine could exhibit normal human behaviour.

When asked how he was settling into University life, he simply spluttered out some nonsensical noises before retreating to the sanctuary of his room. However, when asked to express the average university student’s experience as a 3 dimensional utility plane, and solve a Lagrangian for the point of optimality, he did so in an impressively succinct awkward silence. This unusual inconsistency puzzled scientists who concluded that this poor creature should be kept in isolation until it fully develops suitable social skills.

Concerned scientist Stephen Parsley said: “It’s surprising, but not shocking. I’ve come into contact with several ‘Mathmos’ over the course of my time here and they’re a different breed. One was so alarmingly mechanical you probably have to put him in rice every time he has a shower.”

He continued: “In our minds, the Mathmos are doomed to die out soon. In a cruel twist of nature, they seem to be almost entirely comprised of males, and are thus unable to reproduce. There have been suggestions of cross-breeding with other species – the engineers being a close enough match that it might produce another generation of healthy young Mathmos. However, there have been problems at the trial stage – male Mathmos simply shut down when put in proximity with a woman. We try to reboot them, but nothing works until the female is removed.”

His friend and college spouse Cecily Jones disclosed further details: “He’s nice. You know. Friendly, easy-going and harmless, everything you want in a husband. But he’s the type of bloke who sits on the toilet upright, with his back placed against the wall like a chair.

“We’d only met for five minutes in a corridor before he was down on one knee. I didn’t have the heart to say no. I haven’t seen him since he made me sign a prenup securing his right to not make eye-contact with me for the duration of our marriage. Looking back at it, I think the whole thing might have been a stunted attempt to assimilate with normal people by imitating observed behaviour”.

Welfare Officers have found a use for the Matherton and drafted him into the College Darts society to provide real-time scoring, while also preparing him for the harsh social realities of life.