One hundred years ago today, Alan Turing was born.

I could claim that without him, we wouldn’t have computers; that without him, World War Two would have lasted another two years at least.

But the truth is that the history of innovation and invention is rarely as linear as that, and that if one genius hadn’t made the great leap forward, some other genius would have. The pieces were there, waiting in the adjacent possible.

And yet, in our timeline, history played out the way it did. So I can say that thanks to Alan Turing, we have computers; thanks to Alan Turing, World War Two was shortened by at least two years.

And I can, with absolute certainty, say that the way Alan Turing was treated after the war was absolutely shameful.

We can learn a lot from the life of Alan Turing. We can learn about computation, universal machines, and artificial intelligence. We can also learn about tolerance, compassion …and love.

Have you published a response to this? :

Previously on this day

9 years ago I wrote 2010-06-25

Friday on my mind.

14 years ago I wrote JavaScript and the Sunday

I came across this blog entry in Spanish, El año de Malcolm Gladwell.

14 years ago I wrote Die Verwandlung

As Jeremy Keith awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

15 years ago I wrote Pewx

Jamie pointed out something funny to me the other day.

16 years ago I wrote Safari 1.0

It’s funny, but with all the big announcements from Apple about super-fast computers and nifty video-conferencing cameras, the thing that I’m most excited about is the release of Safari version 1.0.

17 years ago I wrote What a long strange trip it's been

The reason why I haven’t been updating here lately is that I’ve been on the road, wandering, en routard, cruising the highways and exploring the state of Arizona.