Monday, July 13, 2015

Turing not an intellectual snob

Perhaps this was the most surprising thing about Alan Turing. Despite all he had done in the war, and all the struggles with stupidity, he still did not think of intellectuals or scientists as forming a superior class. The intelligent machine, taking over the role of the ‘masters’, would be a development which would cut the intellectual expert down to size. As Victorian technology had mechanised the work of the artisans, the computer of the future would automate the trade of intelligent thinking. The craft jealousy displayed by human experts only delighted him. In this way he was an anti-technocrat, subversively diminishing the authority of the new priests and magicians of the world. He wanted to make intellectuals into ordinary people.
Andrew Hodges, Alan Turing: The Enigma, Centenary Ed. (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2012), pp. 363-64

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