|Alan Turing 1912-1954. Inventor of computers.
Solved ENIGMA in WW2, saving thousands of lives
Despite receiving my favourite magazine, New Scientist, with speculations about THE HIGGS, I am indebted yet again to The Guardian for a timely piece on Alan Turing and his Manchester University team’s remarkable 1951 computer “MADAM” Manchester Automatic Digital Machine. There, working in my home city when I was nine years old and living in Wilmslow, where I married, was the mathematical genius who envisaged, imagined and designed the template for all modern computers, before being cruelly hounded to death by the British establishment for being as “Queer” as many of them secretly were. It is a perfect example of the Beasts – with brutish, thugish, stupid, fearful, primitive power – crushing intuition, intellect, vision and feeling.
This blog and my website News track our transformation from such vicious animals, within all of us, to the coming era of intelligent cooperation and social justice. There is a way to go before we rest.
The 1951 article, just 3 years before Turing died, says “…The magnetic drum will hold 650,000 binary digits and each of the eight cathode-tubes sixty-four twenty digit numbers. It will add up 500 numbers before you could say addition”; a 650K memory and 1K processor. In the city of violent Luddites as well as invention, the Manchester journalist worries about the jobs of the hundreds of clerks it may one day replace. Without Turing we couldn’t start to look for THE HIGGS.
My forecast, holding in mind the Wall Street /City scandals and shambles and the 1.3 million financial services jobs in the UK, is that (responsibly globally managed) computers will rapidly replace all the world’s Bob Diamonds and 80% of the workforce. Of all human activities, bookkeeping, adding up and taking away – with a bit of multiplication and division – is the easiest occupation to transfer en-masse to computers. The hugely expensive Luddites and the gluttonous Beasts will have to give up their comfortable, useless, tapeworm livelihoods and their costly, idiotic, current privileged stranglehold on the Money-Economy. They’d all enjoy living and indulging in unregulated gambling on Rockall, I imagine.
The qualities of Alan Turing and Silicon Valley will triumph – soon.