Alan Turing

Alan Turing was one of the pioneers of discovering how to mechanize thought. He lived most of his life in England, but did spend a few years in the United States of America. In this alternative history, Turing stays longer at Princeton but has the chance to start collaborating with Ludwig Wittgenstein during World War II.

Wittgenstein was a relentless critic of conventional thinking in mathematics and psychology. Before World War II he was Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge and lectured on the foundations of mathematics. Like Turing, Wittgenstein was concerned with the algorithms by which human thoughts are produced and communicated.


Ludwig Wittgenstein

In this alternative history, Wittgenstein and Turing develop a constructive relationship and begin a collaboration on algorithms for learning. After the war, they establish an interdisciplinary program in Mind, Machine and Mathematics at Cambridge and also a private company, AD Computing (Analog/Digital Computing).

The personal relationship that develops between Turing and Wittgenstein is critical for their mental and physical health, allowing them both to have long and productive lives. When they become sources of support and strength for each other, they are able to begin participation in the growing movement for revision of British laws related to homosexuality. By the year 1963 they help Great Britain decriminalize homosexuality.

Wittgenstein dies in 1968, but Turing continues their work into the age of integrated circuits and increasing computer capacity. AD Computing markets its first commercial autonomous learning robot in 1975. Turing dies in 1989, the same year that a model AD-417 becomes world chess champion. Turing's 1950 prediction that the dawn of the new millennium will be witnessed by thinking machines is realized at the turn of the century.

List of Pages in Cambridge Computing

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