On the Eve of the Turing-Versary: Where Do We Go From Here?

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Days to Centenary: 1! Yes one!

Just 1 day to the Turing Centenary!

Even though it’s June, it feels a little like Christmas Eve today.  Amongst Turing-o-philes there’s a sense of anticipation, and there’ll be difficulty getting to sleep knowing that when we wake up in the morning the big day will be here.

The turing Elves (if you don’t know what they are, see The Turing Elves Put on Radiohead Masks) are busy putting the last frantic touches on the various presentations, constructions, art works, and parties with Turing drinking games.

'Twas the night before the Turing-versary

‘Twas the night before the Turing-versary

So maybe this pre-celebration hush presents a good opportunity to briefly mention something that you might have wondered about and I certainly had to spend a little time thinking about.

This blog has spent a long time now — 263 days, to be exact — counting down to the centenary that arrives tomorrow.  Along the way we’ve seen a lot of interesting stuff.

We’ve looked at the possibility of a Turing Marathon at which we speculated that a robot might carry the olympic torch, and examined the apparently impossible dream of Sir Alan Turing.

We’ve seen the awesome philanthropy of the Turing Foundation and we’ve fallen down laughing at the epic rap battle between Turing and Kurt Gödel.

We’ve recapped Turing’s past inspiration of artists by looking at the Godfather of Pop Art and we’ve looked forward to new inspirations, including a Hollywood film.

We’ve even heard no less a figure than Winston Churchill say that Turing’s was the single greatest individual contribution to the Allied victory in World War II.

There’s been a lot more besides.

Now the question is: does the fact that this particular post is fondly looking back at its past glories mean that it’s coming to an end?

I mean, after all, the day itself will be history soon.  So what happens to this blog?

The answer is simple: we start counting down to the Turing Bicentennial.

Much of the hoopla will subside soon and certainly the media attention will drop off dramatically after Saturday.  There will still be a few more months left in the Alan Turing Year, but then that will end too.

What’s a geek to do?  Obviously: keep coming back here.

In fact, I have a major new Turing project that I’ll be announcing when some more of the details are nailed down.  I can’t reveal details yet, but it is definitely going ahead and I think it will please Turing-o-Philes everywhere.

So enjoy the celebrations tomorrow, but when the rest of the world fairly quickly turns their attention to other things, you and I will still have stuff to do.

As Turing himself said in the closing sentence of Computing Machinery and Intelligence:

We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.

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