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Turing QOTD

2007-11-09 15:03:03.916852+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

Alan Turing[Wiki] QOTD, from a talk on February 20th 1946 to the London Mathematical Society:

The masters are liable to get replaced because as soon as any technique becomes at all stereotyped it becomes possible to devise a system of instruction tables which will enable the electronic computer to do it for itself. It may happen however that the masters will refuse to do this. They may be unwilling to let their jobs be stolen from them in this way. int hat case they would surround the whole of their work with mystery and make excuses, couched in well chosen gibberish, whenever any dangerous suggestions were made. I think that a reaction of this kind is a very real danger. This topic naturally leads to the question as to how far it is in principle possible for a computing machine to simulate human activities.

(From Alan Turing: The Enigma[Wiki], by Andrew Hodges[Wiki], p.357) Pretty amazing that he could see Java and many of the modern "software engineering" techniques coming half a century in advance, hey?

[ related topics: Quotes Software Engineering Work, productivity and environment Mathematics Cryptography ]

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#Comment Re: made: 2007-11-10 12:07:26.305744+00 by: meuon

"..that case they would surround the whole of their work with mystery and make excuses, couched in well chosen gibberish.." - I spent almost all of this past week, and long days of it, in biz-dev-management meetings for a couple of clients. I kept thinking, this is easy stuff: form an acquisition company, acquire the other company, become a new company, sell product and grow profitably. Get paid for all of it. Instead, it become a management process(tm) where management asked each member questions that could be Yes/No, but they wanted essay responses (my big one is still pending). The thing that scared me the most was the business/tax attorney stage was 'later'. I've now learned (the hard way) you get your legal framework / shell established first. Everyone in the project gets some documentation on what is going on, protecting everyone.

Properly programmed, I think I'd like a Turing machine "Master", as long as I could pull it's plug if needed. Business management shouldn't be full of mystery, voodoo business processes, and biz-dev-speak gibberish.

Note: The other client I was in meetings with this week is a bit of an engineer-type. Sends me a 3 page, in priority order and appropriately grouped feature list, a 3 page close to plain English all-in-one "letter of intent/operating agreement/partnership", copies of all needed documentation, copies of existing competitors related (but not the same) projects and documentation, and a page of his "ramblings" in outline format. He'll have a running system in 2 to 3 weeks.