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.
Happy birthday, Alan. Love you.— Andy Hume (@andyhume) June 23, 2012