‘I do not see why it [the machine] should not enter any one of the fields normally covered by the human intellect, and eventually compete on equal terms.’
Alan Turing, 1949
Today computers shape every aspect of our lives. In our pockets, we carry mobile phones with computing power that was unimaginable just 50 years ago. Every workplace has its array of desktops, servers, and laptops, and a selection of specially designed software. Many industries are embracing the promises – and the risks – of artificial intelligence. The world is changing faster than ever, and computing is at the heart of technological development.
While computers themselves are modern phenomena, for centuries people have been attempting to solve complex problems, often with the aid of machines. The first computers were not machines at all, but people armed with mathematical tables and infinite patience. They were replaced by heavy, cumbersome machines that sprawled over multiple rooms. Over the course of half a century, they were transformed from an obscure tool for scientists into the quintessential consumer product.
The Story of Computing takes you on an incredible journey through the ideas, the discoveries, and the personalities that shaped the modern technology on which we have come to rely.
Dermot Turing graduated from King’s College Cambridge and New College Oxford. He spent his career in the legal profession, most recently as a partner of Clifford Chance. Since 2014 he has moved into a more varied range of activities, including an active role as a trustee of Bletchley Park. Dermot Turing is the nephew of Alan Turing and author of the latest biography on Turing (Prof: Alan Turing Decoded, published in 2015).