Week 9 Reflection

The first reading this week that really sparked my interest was the article written by Elaine Hom entitled “Alan Turing Biography: Computer Pioneer, Gay Icon.”  I was super excited read this article because I had watched the Imitation Game, a movie about his life, a few years back and had become quickly obsessed.  I’m glad that his life is getting showcased these days and that he is being recognized for his contributions.  It is disturbing that he was forced to endure chemical castration.  This is something I had never even heard of prior to knowing about his life.  It is sad that it happened at all, but hoping that we as a society are at least slightly better than this now. Another fascinating aspect of this article was regarding the Turing Test.  Like many of the people we have learned about in this course, it appears as if Turing had significant foresight and was able to predict that we would need to be able to determine the sentience of artificial intelligence.  Hom states that “[t]oday, the Turing Test is at the heart of discussions about artificial intelligence.”

The other article that fascinated me this week was “27 Military Technologies that Changed Civilian Life,” by Adrian Willings.  Let me just say that I had no idea most of these technologies were direct result of military needs.  In hindsight, it makes sense that a Jeep or GPS would have originated with the needs of the military.  I guess I had just never thought of these items (or any item) in this way.  The two items I was most surprised had their origins in the military were penicillin and ambulances.  I was under the impression that penicillin was more directly related to just medical and scientific research and not devised because of a battle related need.  I had the same beliefs about ambulances.  I just figured these needs would have been universal civilian needs and just needed for war.  Therefore, I never thought that they would have been created for military use first. 

Overall, this week was eye opening for many reasons:  Learning that Turing and I share a birthday, understanding how he is recognized today, and learning about the origins of certain technologies. 

  1. Hom, Elaine. “Alan Turing Biography: Computer Pioneer, Gay Icon”. Life Science. June 23, https://www.livescience.com/29483-alan-turing.html

2. Willings, Adrian. “27 Military Technologies that Changed Civilian Life”. Retrieved March 12, 2019.  https://www.pocket-lint.com/gadgets/news/143526-27-military-technologies-that-changed-civilian-life

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