Science and fiction Turing extended his machine formalism with abstract elements he called 'oracles.' Turing wrote: We shall not go any further into the nature of this oracle apart from saying that it cannot be a machine. The whole point of the 'oracle' is that it is a mathematical tool for the analysis of what cannot be done mechanically. Since the 1950s it has become a standard idea ('relative computability') of mathematical logic. The philosopher B. J. Copeland has rather absurdly claimed that Turing would have supported a project to 'construct' machines equipped with oracles, and holds out the prospect of 'the biggest revolution in computing since 1948.' See a comment on Copeland's picture of an oracle.