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Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Google Cathedral

George Dyson visited the Googleplex on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of John von Neumann’s proposal for a digital computer, and wrote down his impressions in Turing’s Cathedral; “Despite the whimsical furniture and other toys, I felt I was entering a 14th-century cathedral – not in the 14th century but in the 12th century, while it was being built. Everyone was busy carving one stone here and another stone there, with some invisible architect getting everything to fit.” The visit made Dyson think of the words of Alan Turing from his Computing Machinery and Intelligence:

“In attempting to construct such machines we should not be irreverently usurping His power of creating souls, any more than we are in the procreation of children. Rather we are, in either case, instruments of His will providing mansions for the souls that He creates.”

Dyson adds, “Google is Turing’s cathedral, awaiting its soul. We hope.”

[Via Boing Boing.]


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