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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser

Apology to Turing


Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe

George Dyson




"All went well until 1952 when Turing was convicted on a charge of gross indecency for homosexuality....With a gradual lifting of secrecy came long overdue recognition not only the importance of Turing's contribution to the war but of the contributions that Colossus, as a physical embodiment of Turing theoretical principles, had made to the development of hardware and software in the aftermath of World War II. On September 10th 2009, on behalf of the British government and all those who live freely thanks to Allen's work, British prime minister Gordon Brown issued a formal apology, 'for the inhumane treatment that you received, I'm sorry. You deserve so much better.' - George Dyson , Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe (2012)

It is not a prerogative of a state that wishes to continue to remain legitimate to give humans anything but what they deserve, especially when it comes to serious matters. The only acceptable apology of a state is its dissolution. As long as it remains the highest power, there's no greater authority to apologize to, and it means nothing.