Those who are able to imagine something can create the impossible (Alan Turing).
Alan Hub is a project combining the advanced ideas of Turing - the great mathematician, Greenspan - the economist and Milne - the writer. These three men laid the foundation of contemporary life, information technology, ethics and economics; which to this day guide every progressive person in our world.
Turing, Greenspan, Milne - it seems difficult to find people more distant from one another, with such different destinies, dissimilar interests, tasks and goals for their powers to be applied. However, if studied closer, you can find a lot in common. These are their ideals to be set, and the universal values they tried to be true to, the principles they adopted from their mentors.
Turing was the herald of the new ethics in which logic and justice, the incorruptibility of mathematical procedures, would become the cultural dominant of human relations. He was the first to think about how to transfer human thought processes into a machine; making the human mind immortal, initiating not only the invention of the computer, as well as artificial intelligence. Verification of which is called the Turing Test, when throughout the course of the empirical experiment, during which a person communicates with a computer intelligence program that models the answers as a person. The person must detect whether (s)he has communicated with a machine or another person.
Turing’s contribution with his invention of the computer, programming and even digital music to the contemporary digital world is more noticeable, and therefore seems to be largely significant. But no less significant is the contribution of Alan Greenspan, who not only laid the foundations of many modern economic processes and forecasting, but also invested in them humanitarian components.
Alan Greenspan referenced many great books in his life, but we will mention two of them: the book of his father Herbert Greenspan “Recovery Ahead!”, which aroused his interest in economics; and “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand, to whose standard he adhered to throughout his career by defending the position of the free economy and, above all, minimisation of government interference in it, believing in man’s power and spirit.
No less significant is the humanitarian component embedded in modern society by Milne’s books. The writer who served in both World Wars wrote countless poems and tales for every age group; becoming an assistant editor for the Punch Shortly after graduating from Cambridge University. The philosophy behind the main characters of his seeming children's books is fundamentally independent, with a serious character and worldview. Speaking about Alan Milne, it is impossible not to mention the influence that H.G. Wells, the great science fiction writer and prophet of the future, had on him; not so much as a writer, but as a teacher in his youth, whose role Milne himself noted, recalling Wells as “a great writer and a great friend”.
Great moral values, the dream of the new world for humanity by Greenspan, Milne, Turing paved the way for new technology and the values inherent in it. Equal access to information enables the conditions for a completely new development of contemporary society.
Mathematician, logician, computer scientist
Alan Mathison Turing was born on June 23, 1912, in London. His parents, Julius and Ethel Turing, were descendants of famous noble families. When Alan was born, their elder son John had already been growing up in the family. Julius was in the civil service, so he was constantly sent on official business trips to India, where he went together with his wife. Their sons remained in England, being taken care of by the retired colonel’s family.
Turing was an extremely studious child. At the age of six, he had already learnt how to read on his own and insisted on being provided with scientific books by his guardians. At 11, he was already conducting scientific experiments. One day, Alan followed the flight trajectory of several bees, calculated the point at which their trajectories intersected, and found their nest in that place thus finding some honey for his family. When he was fourteen, Turing was sent to a school for boys from aristocratic families, however, he did not care much for his studies, the only exception being mathematics. He was ahead of everyone in this subject. For example, Alan’s outstanding mathematical abilities were manifested in the fact that he was capable of independently studying Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and pointing out the problems that escaped the attention of Einstein himself.
AAt school, Alan had a friend – Christopher Morcom, and this friendship affected Turing very much. It was Morcom’s early death that made him speculate how the human mind worked, and how to “embed” it into some disembodied object, to make it immortal. This is how we perceive the computer now.
In 1936, two years after receiving his Cambridge diploma, Alan published his most famous work – “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungs problem”. In this paper, he outlined the basic concept of “the Turing machine”, which became the prototype of the modern computer. To put it simply, he invented the theoretical computing machine capable of solving any tasks that “artificial intelligence” can cope with, as long as it has a specific program for the task at hand.
In the same year, Turing was invited for an internship by John von Neumann, Professor at Princeton University. Von Neumann’s name is inextricably associated with modern electronic computers and their creation, but the scientist said that it was Turing who created their fundamental concept.
On September 4, 1939, three days after the outbreak of the Second World War, Alan was employed by British Intelligence to join Ultra, a secret task force that was based at Bletchley Park. He headed the group of scientists in developing methods of efficiently cracking the Enigma, the German encryption machine which was used by the Axis power to send confidential messages throughout the war. Turing’s team coped with the task in six months. In 1942, Alan went to the USA, where he began working on creating the cypher for Churchill and Roosevelt to communicate.
In 1942, Alan went to the USA, where he began working on creating the cypher for Churchill and Roosevelt to communicate.
In 1945, in America, von Neumann’s unfinished paper was published, in which he described the arrangement of a computer with a certain program in its memory. Sometime later, Turing published a similar work, but more detailed than his mentor’s. It should be noted that Neumann’s publication contained Alan’s ideas.
In 1950, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, one of Turing's most interesting and important articles in the field of computer research was published. It was about creating artificial intelligence. Turing also wrote the very first computer program for playing chess, as well as being the first to create computer music.
In 1952, a theft occurred in Turing’s apartment. During the investigation, he had to confess to non-traditional orientation, which was a criminal offence for the UK at the time. The scientist was offered a choice - either hormone therapy or imprisonment. He chose the former and, in fact, sentenced himself to chemical castration. The consequences of the hormone therapy affected his psyche and resulted in various diseases. Moreover, the scientist lost his job. On June 8, 1954, his maid found the dead scientist in his bed. After the autopsy, it turned out that he died of cyanide poisoning.
Alan Greenspan was born on March 6, 1926, in New York City, into a family of descendants of Jewish immigrants from Hungary and Romania. His father was a stockbroker and financial analyst. When Alan was 5 years old, his parents divorced, and he was raised by his mother and her parents. At the age of 9, his father gave him his recently published book, which was called “Recovery Ahead!”. In it, Herbert Greenspan defended the need for government programs that stimulate the economy. This book is supposed to have sparked Alan’s interest in economics. Although, he was unlikely to remember about it when he dropped out of the elite Julliard School for the sake of playing saxophone and clarinet in Henry Jerome’s orchestra, which he toured the country with for a year.
Despite his musical detour, he graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Economics in 1948, and in 1950 he received his master’s degree. He then enrolled in the postgraduate school at Columbia University, but failed to graduate, due to a lack of funds. Coincidentally, his mentor here was Alan Burns, who later ran the US Federal Reserve. With his studies over, Greenspan began teaching at New York University. At the same time, he was deeply influenced by the ideas of Ayn Rand, an American writer and philosopher born in the Russian Empire, who defended the principles of state-unregulated capitalism. Her book “Atlas Shrugged” had a sizeable effect on America.
In 1954, Greenspan co-founded the consulting company Townsend, Greenspan & Co, which he was the president of until 1987 when President Reagan appointed him the head of the Fed. Over the years, he not only managed to earn a considerable fortune but also predicted the decline of the American economy that occurred in the late 50s. He advised Richard Nixon when he was a candidate for president of the United States. In 1974, he headed the Council of Economic Advisers in the structure of the White House, retaining the post under President Gerald Ford.
Being appointed Chairman of the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve by Reagan in 1987, he worked in this post for 18 and a half years (which became “the Greenspan era”) under four US presidents – Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Greenspan pursued a tough monetary policy and tried to keep inflation rates under control while remaining a supporter of the liberal economy and minimising government interference in it. As early as 1987, measures taken by Greenspan resulted in quickly overcoming the crisis caused by the collapse of the global stock market on Black Monday. In 1998, the Fed was able to protect the American economy from the negative consequences of the financial crises in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Russia. In the late 1990s, largely due to the policy pursued by the Fed, unemployment in the USA reached its lowest level (4%) in more than 20 years, and inflation reached its lowest level in 11 years (1.5%). During Greenspan’s management of the Fed, was one of the longest periods of economic growth in the United States – from March 1991 to February 2000. During his appointment, he was one of the most powerful people in the world. One forecast of the head of the Fed was enough for stock prices to soar up or fall.
His knowledge, ability to think strategically, and to make correct forecasts were always in demand. At the same time, it is curious that Alan Greenspan, who is one of the most convinced adherents and advocates of the free market and entrepreneurship, has spent most of his life in the civil service. Some of his close associates even believe that he has been doing this on purpose to make it easier to fight from within the main evil of capitalism – the bureaucracy and the state itself.
Greenspan retired in February 2006, shortly before his 80th birthday. He was called “the best head of the Fed of the 20th century”. Greenspan went on to work for several American and European consulting companies, banks and trust funds as an adviser. Besides this, he became a keen researcher. His dream is to leave to his descendants economic algorithms for calculating the profits of non-financial corporations.
Novelist, playwright, poet
A classic author of 20th century English literature, the author of the famous “Winnie the Pooh”.
Milne was born on January 18, 1882. Scottish by birth, Alan Milne spent his childhood in London, where his father John Milne owned a small private school in which Alan’s early education began. One of his mentors was Herbert G. Wells, who taught there and had a great influence on his student. Much later, Milne wrote of Wells as “a great writer and a great friend”. He continued his education at Westminster School and later went on to study at Trinity College, Cambridge reading Mathematics between 1900-1903.
As a student, he wrote notes in the student newspaper Grant, and his first literary attempts were published in the British humorous magazine Punch, which published columns by the likes of Charles Dickens, Jerome Klapka Jerome and William Thackeray amongst others at various times. At the age of 24, Milne began working at Punch as an assistant editor until the outbreak of the First World War.
In 1913, Alan Milne married Dorothy Daphne de Selincote, who gave birth to their only son, Christopher Robin Milne.
A born pacifist, Milne was drafted into the Royal Army, and served as an officer in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in France, but fell ill and was returned to England. He then spent some time training recruits. From 1916, Milne also worked for MI7 - the British Military Intelligence division responsible for press liaison and propaganda. He served there until he was demobilised at the end of the war, leaving with the rank of Lieutenant.
During the war years, Milne was also engaged in dramaturgy - his plays began to be staged not only by amateur acting troupes but also by professional theatres. Gradually, critics began to call Milne “one of the most successful, prolific and well-known playwrights in England”.
The war made a strong impression on the young writer. His famous anti-war work “The Honourable World” was published in 1934. This book found a huge response during the interwar period, and in 1924 Meffin published Milne’s famous short stories “When We Were Very Young”, which hosted “Teddy Bear”, a poem Milne wrote for Punch in 1924 which was the first published instance of the famous Pooh Bear.
In 1926, Milne published the first of two storybooks about the bear called “Winnie-the-Pooh”, with the second book - “The House at Pooh Corner” being published in 1928. Milne’s inspiration for these stories came from his wife and little Christopher Robin, who Milne then included as one of Winnie the Poohe’s best friends. As well as the main books and the aforementioned poem, Pooh is featured in another collection of Milnee’s children verses called “Now We Are Six” where he is illustrated.
It is noteworthy that, even after the dazzling success of Winnie the Pooh, Milne was in doubt about his literary talent.
Besides being the author of the world-famous Winnie the Pooh, Alan Milne is known as a playwright, poet and short-story writer. His plays were successfully performed on the professional stage in London, but now they are staged mainly in amateur theatres, although they still gather full halls and arouse the interest of the public and the press. Milne also wrote scripts for four short films made back in 1920 by Minerva Films.
Milne repeatedly stressed that he was dissatisfied with the success of Winnie the Pooh, which overshadowed his more serious literary works, and never mentioned this cycle of stories in his memoirs.
In 1952, Milne became seriously ill. He had to undergo severe brain surgery. The operation was successful, and after it, Milne returned to his home in Sussex County, where he spent the rest of his life reading. After a long illness, he died on January 31, 1956.