The Turing Centenary: Alan Turing was a mathematician. He is widely regarded as having invented the theoretical underpinning for the programmable, multi-purpose computer and his codebreaking work was critical to the Allied victory in World War II. Turing was also gay at a time when engaging in gay sex was a criminal act. After the war he was charged criminally, pleaded guilty, was forced to undergo “chemical castration” in order to avoid prison, and lost his clearance to do high level government work. Two years later he committed suicide. In Luck and Death a conscious artificial intelligence — which normally lives within the security system of a wealthy man’s estate — is temporarily placed in a human “shell” (a synthetic human body) and chooses one that is a simulacrum of Alan Turing.
June 23, 2012 will be the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth and 2012 is officially the Alan Turing Year, with events planned in twenty countries. The Turing Centenary counts down the days until the centenary with posts about his life, his work, and his modern legacy in the science, the arts, and society.
Homo Artificialis: the synthetic human bodies that appear in Luck and Death are the natural extension of current trends in robotics, artificial intelligence, the creation of synthetic organs (both built and grown), as well as systems that map human experiences and capacities through artificial means (such as the various forms of brain imaging). Homo Artificialis is concerned with the actual, current scientific work that could lead to the creation of synthetic human bodies or entirely synthetic life that can interact with humans as peers. The intermediate step of radical life extension — which allows the prolonged use of our natural bodies — is also covered.
Page Last Updated: November 12, 2011