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Alan Turing – Code Breaker and Father of Modern Computing/AI

If you’re reading this,

It’s thanks to the visionary work of a Gay man born on June 23, 1912, named Alan Turing – breaker of the NAZI enigma code, Father of modern computing and artificial intelligence.

This is the kind of story the New Right doesn’t want told — the story of a Gay hero who helped save the world from Hitler and the NAZIs. His story and work were so groundbreaking that they were kept classified for fifty years. British mathematician Alan Turing’s work breaking the NAZI Enigma Code was so revolutionary British intelligence didn’t want possible adversaries to know how he figured it out and then build the proverbial better mousetrap.

Alan Turing was no ordinary mathematical genius.  At an early age, he displayed unparalleled aptitude, able to solve his teacher’s complex equations before being taught calculus.  By the age of 24 his paper “On Computable Numbers” hypothesized the idea of a “universal machine;” later called the “universal Turing machine;” and then simply the “Turing machine” capable of computing anything.  Today’s modern computers are based on the core concepts of his 1936 paper.

During World War II, Turing was recruited to work at Bletchley Park, Britain’s codebreaking center, tasked with breaking the NAZI’s “unbreakable” Enigma Code.  While part of the highly secretive “Hut 8” team, he built an electromechanical machine for speeding up deciphering messages and ultimately breaking the code.  Historians have estimated Alan Turing shortened the war in Europe by two years and saved upwards of 14 million lives in the process.

Ours is a world of computerized algorithms and artificial intelligence, one in which we must prove we’re not a machine every day.  It’s a reality foresaw by Alan Turing in 1950 when he was the first to address artificial intelligence in his paper, “Computing machinery and intelligence.” It proposed an experiment to create an intelligence design standard, now known as the “Turing Test.”

As with most geniuses, Alan Turing and the personal challenges he faced were as complicated as the problems he tried to solve.  In 1952, he was arrested under Britain’s “gross indecency” law for being a homosexual.  When faced with imprisonment, he chose probation and chemical castration in order to keep working on his computing machine.

 

Great Britain’s “unknown national hero” died by suicide of cyanide poisoning on June 7, 1954.  He was found the next day with a half-eaten apple next to him and suspected to be the means by which he ingested the poison.  The scene reminiscent of that from the film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which held great fascination for him.  Alan Turing was 41 years old.

In 2013 Alan Turing was granted a posthumous royal pardon by Queen Elizabeth II for his unprecedented achievements.

Alan Turing once wrote in a letter,

I’m afraid that the following syllogism may be used by some in the future.

Turing believes machines think

Turing lies with men

Therefore, machines do not think

 Yours in distress,

Alan

 

It deserves a reply.

Dear Alan,

People want to silence your truth

People are afraid of the truth

Therefore, people are afraid you

Yet, those people could not survive without their Turing Machines

Yours in Pride,

Our Community in the Future

 

(main image by artist Andy Potts)

 

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