back to article Scientist, war hero and gay icon Alan Turing is new face of the £50 note

Legendary codebreaker and father of theoretical computer science Alan Turing will soon be gracing your pocket on the side of a shiny new £50 note. The cash will feature a portrait of Turing, the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) developed by the man, a mathematical table from a seminal paper on computable numbers, the …

  1. Paul Herber Silver badge

    I forsee some sad souls refusing to accept these notes because of the sexuality of the person shown thereupon. I hope I'm wrong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Indeed. Cue gags regarding this note being more bent than a 9 bob note.

      1. Jedit
        Coat

        "Cue gags regarding this note being more bent than a 9 bob note"

        I admit, I was going to say "Just in time for Brexit to make £50 worth nine old shillings".

        (Which is sadly less of a joke than it seems: 9s at the time of Turing's death is already worth the equivalent of around £13.50 today. Brexit won't be quite bad enough to make it worth £50, of course, but the way they're going on I wouldn't be shocked if it's worth £20.)

        Mine's the one with an abacus in the pocket...

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: "Cue gags regarding this note being more bent than a 9 bob note"

          During periods of change and uncertainty (which we are currently in since it was announced we are leaving the EU, but haven't actually done so yet) there is always an element of adjustment and new footings established.

          However, what is to say that in a few years time our economy won't be booming? As far as I can see most economies these days are based on confidence. If one accepts this assertion, then it naturally follows that anyone attempting to undermine confidence in our ability to do business (as a country) is the same as trying to make the economy worse.

          I get that people are afraid of change, and that there are a lot of people who don't want to leave the EU, but the only sensible solution now is for all of us to accept what is and try to make the future a bit better by pulling together, rather than pulling ourselves apart and creating the very scenario that people puport to be afraid of.

          Johnson may be a buffoon, but he has a lot of charisma. I'm not suggesting we give him a free pass to do whatever he wants, but if he tries to get people to work together for all our sakes then perhaps we should at least support that.

          If the general populace has become so cynical as to throw out all positive actions because they might be tarnished with a few unpleasant associations then there really is no hope. We can only do our best to focus on the ideals we wish others to express in the hope that it helps everyone lift their overall game. Is that really so much to ask?

          1. 's water music Silver badge

            Re: "Cue gags regarding this note being more bent than a 9 bob note"

            Johnson may be a buffoon, but he has a lot of charisma. I'm not suggesting we give him a free pass to do whatever he wants, but if he tries to get people to work together for all our sakes then perhaps we should at least support that.

            Johnson's charisma is basically the difference between him and Trump. I also resent the suggestion that he should be supported simply because he is (likely to be the next leader of) the government and the implication that not to do so is some sort of treachery that will be to blame for any future problems with his economic policy

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

              Re: "Cue gags regarding this note being more bent than a 9 bob note"

              " the implication that not to do so is some sort of treachery that will be to blame for any future problems with his economic policy"

              Who said anything about blame? Personally I think Johnson's an idiot, but I would rather the overall situation improved rather than proudly wallowing in shit saying 'I told you so' to anyone who dared vote for Brexit.

          2. Fursty Ferret

            Re: "Cue gags regarding this note being more bent than a 9 bob note"

            the only sensible solution now is for all of us to accept what is and try to make the future a bit better by pulling together, rather than pulling ourselves apart and creating the very scenario that people puport to be afraid of.

            If I might be so bold, fuck you. The chaos facing the UK is *your* [all those who voted Brexit] problem, not mine. This is not a Famous Five-style jolly in the countryside, as your appallingly dated choice of words implies, but a serious and backward decision made with neither planning nor forethought.

            You broke it, you fix it. In the meantime, you can wave your own union flag.

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

              Re: "Cue gags regarding this note being more bent than a 9 bob note"

              "If I might be so bold, fuck you."

              Gee, that devolved quickly.

            2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

              Re: "Cue gags regarding this note being more bent than a 9 bob note"

              "The chaos facing the UK is *your* [all those who voted Brexit] problem, not mine."

              How about all the people who voted to cede our parliamentary powers to the EU in the first place? Did you vote for that then? No, you didn't, because we didn't get a vote, did we?

              1. Champ

                Re: "Cue gags regarding this note being more bent than a 9 bob note"

                Can you please list the parliamentary powers which you claim were ceded to the EU?

                Take your time.

                1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                  Re: "Cue gags regarding this note being more bent than a 9 bob note"

                  How about any regulation produced by the EU being automatically applied in all member states.

                  1. Toni the terrible

                    Re: "Cue gags regarding this note being more bent than a 9 bob note"

                    Except of Course that Germany / France etc don't apply them automatically, only the ones they agree with. Why GB decided to do this boggles the mind, even of the other EU states, must have been a proto-brexiteer salting the arena?

                  2. Mooseman Silver badge

                    Re: "Cue gags regarding this note being more bent than a 9 bob note"

                    "How about any regulation produced by the EU being automatically applied in all member states"

                    That are voted by all member states you mean? those regulations? The ones we have/had a bigger voice than most other countries on? Lets drag out the statistics yet again shall we? Britain has agreed with EU regulations and laws on about 98% of the time. Official EU voting records show that the British government has voted ‘No’ to laws passed at EU level on 56 occasions, abstained 70 times, and voted ‘Yes’ 2,466 times since 1999. I assume you can do basic maths? Oh in case you're wondering, the things we voted against included those fucking awful EU rules about clear labelling of contents on food, whether drinks etc contain aspartame, and of course the old favourite voting heavily against tax regulation.

                    If you're going to bring out the usual leave mantra of "we are in a dictatorship" and "you make yourself need to get behind brexit" then kindly look up some basic facts before you make yourself look daft.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Cue gags regarding this note being more bent than a 9 bob note"

            "Johnson may be a buffoon..."

            the rest of that paragraph is superfluous

            (The 1st thing he did as London Mayor was to ban all alcohol consumption on public transport. He could have simply beefed up the existing bylaws covering drunken and loutish behaviour but instead chose to spoil it for everyone)

    2. Benson's Cycle

      Oh, they'll just argue that there's a lot of fakes in circulation.

      Bigots will be bigots.

      1. This is my handle
        Joke

        Surely Dr. Turing came up with a proof to avoid the counterfeits....

        If you can't tell the difference, or more precisely the person to whom you're passing the bill can't, it must be the real deal!

      2. Paul Herber Silver badge

        Two of them have downvoted me already!

        1. JLV Silver badge

          And here’s an extra one. Because, instead of just rejoicing at this happy event, you have to neg out at a supposed bunch of bigots.

          Who, I am sure, exist somewhere, but likely not in any number that really matter (I suspect the avg bigot hardly knows of Turing). And in any case would make fools out of themselves.

          Then you have to whine, again, that people downvoted you for being stridently, pre-emptively, whiny. A professional outragee ;-)

          Just so it’s clear: totally support this honor, he deserves it. Also totally supported the official apology and pardon.

          1. JLV Silver badge

            and to clarify further: I support gay rights as well, just on the very basic view that someone's sexuality is their own damn business and needs no justification or apologizing for, as long as consenting adults and all that.

          2. Nick Kew Silver badge

            Also totally supported the official apology and pardon.

            Yet that is total hypocrisy in today's society, which would treat Turing more harshly than happened in his own time.

            Sure, homosexuality is just fine today. But that's not what really mattered in Turing's conviction (and consenting adult homosexuals were tolerated - c.f. Britten & Pears). Turing was a 40-year-old who had had his wicked way with a teenage lad, below the prevailing age of consent. Something of which society has grown altogether more intolerant since Turing's time.

            Now if you argue with Alcibiades (as reported by Plato) that mentoring by an older man in the erotic arts is an essential part of an adolescent's education and something to which he has an expectation and indeed a right, then we can accept and applaud Turing's sexuality in full. But that's a very long way from today's society.

            Just to be clear, I neither condemn nor applaud Turing's sexuality. What I deplore is historical revisionism and the hypocrisy of today's society.

            1. JLV Silver badge

              Wikipedia says:

              >Arnold Murray, a 19-year-old unemployed man

              So, what was the prevailing age of consent? For homosexual acts, as well as heterosexual? The reason I am making that distinction, is that, to my recollection, British law until 5-10 years ago did provide for 16 year old in general, but 18 in the case of homosexuals.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent_reform_in_the_United_Kingdom

              Which... really gets us back to the whole sorry affair being rather sordid behavior on the part of the UK government of the time. And you not being totally transparent in your statement, which comes to resemble insinuation. Or else, why not mention the actual age of the guy, as well as the asymmetry in the law?

              The one, somewhat more forgivable interpretation is that it is fairly common practice for people with high security clearances to be at risk of losing that vetting if they engage in activities which could leave them open to blackmail. See for example how David Petraeus and his affair. I don't really get the impression it was about that in this case, as he didn't need to be threatened with prison, seems more like garden variety homophobia.

              BTW, WTF on proposing a 12 yr old age of consent at some point. What were they thinking???

              1. Nick Kew Silver badge

                AIUI, the applicable age of consent at the time was 21.

                Sure, the whole concept of age of consent as a one-size-fits-all is and was nonsense: teenagers are, after all, sexual beings. The issue that Turing faced was being a middle-aged man having relations with someone less than half his age.

                I also suspect Turing would be appalled to know his sexuality was in the public domain. It's should've remained his business, not yours or mine.

                1. JLV Silver badge

                  actually, the Wiki entry says the male homosexual age of consent was raised to 21 in 1967, which means it wasn’t that in Turing’s time. best I can parse it: 16, at the time.

                  creepy? somewhat, just like any 40 yr old going with a 19 yr old. but that’s not criminalized now, so again, ‘insinuation’ comes to mind.

                  1. Roj Blake Silver badge

                    "actually, the Wiki entry says the male homosexual age of consent was raised to 21 in 1967, which means it wasn’t that in Turing’s time. best I can parse it: 16, at the time."

                    There was no homosexual age of consent in Turing's time, as homosexuality was illegal.

                    1. JLV Silver badge

                      You are correct, but without a law stating otherwise, the age of consent aspect, if it was legally pursued would default to the baseline, 16.

                      In any case, the age of Turing’s bf had no legal bearing at the time. Nor would it have any now, so claiming that “gee, but paedo” is disingenuous. Esp when the actual age is not mentioned by the OP, which he could easily have done.

                2. NeilPost Bronze badge

                  “The issue that Turing faced was being a middle-aged man having relations with someone less than half his age.”

                  Yes, on a recent Guardian letter and comments with a man/younger woman in today’s society this behaviour/age difference was derided as always “predatory”. Perhaps like the many older men/women who make it succeed today this was an exception.

                  1. werdsmith Silver badge

                    Because homosexuality was illegal and Turing would need to keep it quiet, and the fact that Turing was party to sensitive information, national secrets and all that was what made life difficult.

                    In 2019 his activities would not be illegal and so he would not be considered vulnerable to blackmail from "enemies" of the state seeking to pressurise him into helping them. Therefore he would have been able to openly have natural relationships instead of dalliance with a teenage villain who exploited him.

                    Note the case was the Crown against Turing and Murray. Both were charged equally with GI.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Nothing to do with the age of consent

              As mentioned the "prevailing" age of consent was 16 and the sexual partner was 19 so Turing was not a peado and I think you should hang your head in shame for suggesting it.

              Yes there were some tolerated homosexuals pre legalisation but that was entirely at the discretion of whatever policeman came across evidence that could be used in court. Basically it was used as a stick to beat homosexuals with if a policeman didn't like the look of them for whatever reason.

              Suggesting that gay people had it just fine in the 50s and that it was a policeman's moral outrage at the age gap that drove the conviction is historical revisionism.

              We may regard large age gaps as a little creepy these days but not to the extent of chemically castrating people who engage in it above the age of consent, see Stephen Fry and his husband (32 years his junior).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      1) Those type of people will not know who he is.

      2) They will also never see a £50 note.

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        It kinda feels like he has acknowledged and then been binned off... well with Brexit and the impending doom coming £50’s should be in ATM’s soon !!

    4. OssianScotland Silver badge
      Pint

      I'm hoping he was chosen as a Great British Icon, rather than to fill quotas, although I have a sneaking suspicion that it was partially because of what, rather than who, he was.

      My Dad was at BP (not involved with Enigma - he was working on Japanese Army codes) and says he played chess against Turing on at least one occasion.

      Icon - to Alan and all the unsung heroes and heroines of Bletchley

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Cash only, he didn't take a cheque, mate.

      2. Nick Kew Silver badge

        I fear that since Jane Austen, politics now inevitably dominate such choices.

        Austen and Turing are of course highly distinguished individuals who merit honouring. But so are many others - some of whom featured in previous discussion on El Reg - who are de facto ineligible in today's society by virtue of failing to tick any of the right boxes.

        1. NeilPost Bronze badge

          Top of my list is Rosalind Franklin.

          Thankfully Florence Nightingale - far-far more than a super-nurse - has already been done.

      3. NeilPost Bronze badge

        He was a technology and computing icon. Not a gay icon.

        He was an intensely private man, who would be embarrassed at his hijack by the Gay Rights Advocacy mob.

        Turing would certainly be at home being a nerd, instead of on a Pride March.

    5. Christoph Silver badge

      They didn't refuse the notes with Darwin on.

      1. Benson's Cycle

        That's because they didn't give a monkey's.

        1. Joel Mansford

          A Monkey would be 10xDarwin, if we were talking Darwin notes then you wouldn't give a Bull's-eye (my alternative spelling)

          https://metro.co.uk/2018/01/10/much-pony-monkey-cockney-rhyming-slang-money-explained-7219427/

    6. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      "I forsee some sad souls refusing to accept these notes because of the sexuality of the person shown thereupon."

      That only happens in the US. Although quite a lot more of us would refuse it for not being legal tender over here.

    7. Spamfast Bronze badge
      Pint

      Das Beste am Norden ... ist unsere Toleranz.

      I forsee some sad souls refusing to accept these notes because of the sexuality of the person shown thereupon. I hope I'm wrong.

      Wetherspoon's, the bastion of open-minded liberal democracy, has already put signs up that it no longer accepts fifty pound notes.

      It accepts almost anything else as long as it gets its money and its owners can rant on about how great Brexit is but there you go.

      (But I still like Hop House 13 at £3.49 compared to £5.10 in my local so perhaps I'm being a bit two-faced!)

  2. deive

    He deserves it. Or more precisley we deserve to keep his memory alive!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I am sure there is a whole lot he would facepalm about modern society (and modern computing like Farceborg) but LGTB rights is one area he would probably be pleasantly surprised by at least in much of the developed world. Granted a relatively new development but still.

      1. Benson's Cycle

        He might be if he was even slightly interested.

        From what I've read (or been told) about Turing, all he really wanted was to be left alone to get on with interesting stuff. Turing was very much a gay man of his era and accepted the world pretty much as it was. He was after all very much a member of the upper middle classes, educated at Sherborne.

        This is not to denigrate Turing, just to point out that it has taken many people many years to change their views on LGBT issues, and many are still remarkably bigoted. It would be quite possible for someone like Turing to have done the same. Being a gay man doesn't automatically make someone a defender of the rights of lesbians and transgender people, just as being a member of an oppressed minority doesn't automatically make someone a supporter of the rights of other minorities.

        Being a genius doesn't automatically make you a friend of all humanity.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >Being a genius doesn't automatically make you a friend of all humanity.

          See Bobby Fischer. Turing didn't strke me from what I have read is being anywhere near the same ballpark though.

        2. NeilPost Bronze badge

          Turing’s Legacy is computing and Math’s, not Gay Right’s.

          He has been appropriated by advocacy agenda campaigners as a famous gay person persecuted by the UK Surveillance Services/State apparatus.

          His legacy is the effect on WW2 and computing after that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            >Turing’s Legacy is computing and Math’s, not Gay Right’s.

            Completely irrelevant to his story or fate eh? Whatever makes you comfortable. I will totally agree it should be completely irrelevant but it wasn't then and hopefully today it is.

            1. NeilPost Bronze badge

              Not irrelevant to his story, and I don’t like the “whatever makes you comfortable” attempted smear.

              Same sort of fairly desperate crap as trying to prove - on little evidence - that Leonard’s Da Vinci was gay.. where his legacy and Polymath status of a Giant was his many works.. not who he may or may not have shagged

  3. TRT Silver badge

    How many of these...

    buy's an Apple machine?

    1. Eburt

      Re: How many of these...

      All of them

    2. cornetman Bronze badge

      Re: How many of these...

      You mean a tree?

  4. Pseudonymous Clown Art

    Finally. We can now measure the value of kit in "Turings".

    "That Apple stand for 10 Alans is a bit steep."

    "Nice laptop, must be worth a few Alans".

    Etc.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      He'd be turing in his grave.

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: "Turings"

      Is this the new "Kerching"?

      (As in the onomatopoeia meaning of the word - electronic cash registers naturally).

    3. TRT Silver badge

      They're worth a bombe.

      1. ElectricFox
        Gimp

        It's an enigma how the fanbois keep paying those prices....

    4. NeilPost Bronze badge

      So an ‘Alan’ is

      - 2 Ponies

      - 10 deep sea divers

      - 1 bullseye

      and you need 10x ‘Alan’s’ for a Monkey (obviously a Bonobo).

      The mind will boggle in Faaaaxccking Laaandon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It is also 50 cabbages.

  5. Simon Harris Silver badge
    Coat

    Money...

    Does putting Turing on the £50 note mean that it will now be cryptocurrency?

    Mine's the one without any Bitcoins in the pocket ------->

    1. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: Money...

      Only is there is a Captcha on it (Evolution if the Turing Test).

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Money...

        "Only is there is a Captcha on it (Evolution if the Turing Test)."

        I had one set of 'captcha' foisted upon me that took me over 80 goes to get right. How on earth are we supposed to know if something is a shop-front if it's written in Chinese??

        I reckon Captcha's are the exact opposite of a Turing test, set by AI to weed out the humans.

    2. paulf Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Money...

      Not quite crypto but note the binary value on the note, adjacent to his right shoulder: 1010111111110010110011000

      This translates to the decimal value: 23061912

      His birthday is 23 June 1912. A very nice touch!

      [I've seen this mentioned elsewhere so I can't claim the credit for spotting it]

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: Money...

        I hope that does not attract the ICO - personally identifiable data ... GDPR n’all.

        That being said, I guess the BOE could just print a pile of “Alan’s” and pay in cash.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Money...

        While that DOB is a nice touch it would have been nicer if it was formatted in accordance with ISO 8601.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's not the only gay icon, queen has been on them for years.

  7. phuzz Silver badge

    I think I've only had one or two fifty quid notes in my possession ever, and I can't remember the last time I saw one, so I don't know if I'll ever see one of these.

    Oh well, it's a nice gesture.

    1. really_adf

      I think I've only had one or two fifty quid notes in my possession ever

      Same. Not so surprising when the current note was introduced, but seems strange when the inflation-adjusted value of a (rare) £50 note now must be similar to a (common) £20 note then.

    2. IGotOut

      I used to get paid in them 25 years or so ago.

      Really pissed of McDonalds buying some does with one(they actually stopped accepting them some time back, not sure if still the case)

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Coat

        Does?

        I didn't know McD sold deer meat.

        OK, OK, I'm going.

    3. Dr. G. Freeman

      The last time I got a £50 it was green.

    4. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      As a (US) computer hardware engineer, I may be forced to send some dollars to a friend in the UK to get one of these when they come out. Already have Marconi on the 100 Lira from Italy.

      Gay or not, I think Turing is an excellent choice. I would also have supported Babbage (already done?) or Whittle, or Harrison. Rosalind Franklin would also have been an excellent choice.

      US currency is so boring. I rather like the idea of rotating the pictures on the bills to celebrate historical persons worthy of remembrance. All we have is postage stamps...

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: All we have is postage stamps...

        There you have the opposite problem.

        When I was a youth we all used to collect the new (UK) stamps as they came out and religiously added them to our collections. At that time there were only a few to collect so the cost was fine. The appearance of them looked as if they were worth something too. Nowadays they bring out new issues so frequently that nobody bothers collecting them any more.

        You are in the U.S. by the sounds of it, where there is a similar problem, compounded by many of them (the definitives) appearing like scraps of torn paper. Patriotism is one thing, but why are there so many American flags depicted on USA stamps? Postage stamps are used by many countries as tourist and commerece marketing opportunities: the French places of interest series being a classic example. It's not as if the USA is short of subjects to depict.

        There was historically the time when postage stamps were accepted as currency in the USA:-

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gault

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What about Lady Ada? Just to break up your meat feast.

        1. Benson's Cycle

          Babbage and Ada would be good.

          Why only one person? Why not the Colossus team? Rutherford, Geiger and Marsden?

  8. SGJ

    On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem

    "Turing developed the theory that underpins all modern computers while working at the National Physical Laboratory and later at the University of Manchester."

    Turing's seminal paper 'On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem', which showed that his "universal computing machine" could, in theory, perform any mathematical computation, was wriiten in 1936 long before he worked at either the NPL or Manchester.

    1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

      Re: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem

      He was a fellow at Kings College Cambridge at the time.

  9. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Disappointed with the headline

    and that so many see his sexuality as an issue. I doubt he would have wanted that - nor wanted to be regarded as an icon.

    To me the only things to celebrate are his skill, achievements and what he gave us all.

    1. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

      Re: Disappointed with the headline

      Alan Turing desired to be a gay martyr as much as Anne Frank wanted to be known as a holocaust number.

      Neither, I imagine would have wanted that end to be a climax of accomplishment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disappointed with the headline

      Agreed, if he had not worked on computers would they still be putting him on bank notes? OFC not.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Disappointed with the headline

      There's an agenda to push. We can't just pick a notable scientist, we have to make sure they tick some other boxes too.

      Turing seems a fine choice to me. It's a shame we can't have several versions with different people.

  10. SVV Silver badge

    I doubt that these big value notes will be around much longer

    The fact that most of us now use computerised encrypted payment systems is also a worthy tribute to his work.

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: I doubt that these big value notes will be around much longer

      > computerised encrypted payment systems

      Like chip and pin? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      No seriously, its a bloody balls up allowing a transaction to be authorised REGARDLESS if the pin is correct or not (https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/research/security/banking/nopin/oakland10chipbroken.pdf). What idiot designed this system? Are they the same guys who made WEP?

      I try to use cash as much as possible as if they f*cked up this I dont trust them further than I can shove them.

      Another reason to use cash is with chip and pin / contactless transactions the store is charged a significant amount of money. I once had good fortune to be lectured by a guy in his fairly independent car parts shop. I asked if I could use contactless and after sighing he said "why not, go ahead". On and on he went about the processing charges and how the banks are "stealing" his money. He goes on to talk about a group of shops (his included) all banding together to try and force the banks to lower charges etc.

      To appease him I paid by cash. Basically they really hate us using chip and pin/contact-less. Convenient as it is they make less on each purchase than if you use cash.

      Plus you avoid having to give your card details to a till running an ancient operating system. I once saw the staff playing pinball on one!

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: I doubt that these big value notes will be around much longer

        I try to use cash as much as possible as if they f*cked up this I dont trust them further than I can shove them.

        Is that because when you are using your card you arnt sure if you are you or not?

      2. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: I doubt that these big value notes will be around much longer

        I'd put it to that guy that chip and pin/contactless probably saves him money in the long term - all he has to do is accept one fake £20 note and he'd have been better off paying a months worth of processing fees.*

        Also, there is an inherent risk in having cash on premises - which only gets worse the more you have!

        * Im not 100% sure how much fees are now but last time I worked on card processing systems it was pennies per transaction.

  11. Doctor Evil

    Oh, this is awesome!

    Congratulations to the Bank of England on making this perspicacious choice! I want one. Heck, I want several.

  12. Tromos
    Coat

    Q. What do you call 20 of these notes?

    A. Grand Turing.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    highly not OK to Turing's memory

    There is no doubt Turing was a war hero and a very high ranked scientific and computer scientist.

    In fact, probably the best of the century.

    But seeing the UK state put his name and face on a money note, after what they did to him, really ?

    This is indecency and insult at its highest level. I know for sure I wouldn't want my name in a state money note if my state had done 10% of what was done to him, because of his sexual orientation.

    Apologies (of the Queen or whoever else) don't count, FFS. The dude was pushed to suicide !

    WTF, UK ???? You've clearly lost it entirely !

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: highly not OK to Turing's memory

      You do know that the events of 67 years ago were not the responsibility of the present lot?

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: highly not OK to Turing's memory

        I don’t know, many of them have been around a long time. What was say Corbyn or Clarke’s voting record on stuff in this ballpark over the last 30-40 years?!

      2. OssianScotland Silver badge

        Re: highly not OK to Turing's memory

        But governments (at least in the UK) are happy to apologise - so accept some responsibility - for <deity> knows what has happened in the past.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: highly not OK to Turing's memory

          Cheap words though. It's much harder to get them to apologise for something closer to the present date.

  14. NeilPost Bronze badge

    Captcha

    It’s reLly-really news, but I honestly feel that his fantastic legacy has been drowned in the Gay Advocacy Storm. It was horrible, absolutely wrong and yes a crime at the time thankfully repealed.

    I would have liked to see a Catcha included on the bank-note, as the current pinnacle of the evolution of the Turing Test :-)

    1. joeW Silver badge

      Re: Captcha

      Really? Because I feel his legacy has been sullied by people thinking he's only getting the attention because of "gay advocacy" and the like.

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: Captcha

        I don’t say sullied, but what he is actually known for - the Computing and Cryptography - is being drowned out but the Gay Advocacy argument.

        He happened to be gay, and (possibly because of the work he did) he was persecuted for it.

        I will predict that the questionable Peter Tatchell will be wheeled out later - instead of a Computing Giant of today - to celebrate this.

        1. NeilPost Bronze badge

          Re: Captcha

          Someone appropriate would have been (Sir) Tim Berners-Lee.

  15. _LC_ Bronze badge
    Devil

    ... and the best of it

    The banknotes are sterilized beforehand.

    /* sarcasm off */

    1. _LC_ Bronze badge
      Megaphone

      Re: ... and the best of it

      I'm getting thumbs down on this. How is it going to be then, will we have bank-notes with Assange's face on them in a few decades? All the while, we do nothing and watch them destroying him. Do you think that the ones destroying Turing were that different from the ones doing it today? Then what have we learned? Let's change things instead! Printing faces of dead people on bank-notes is doing nothing. He is dead. They took away his life. They are still doing it today. It may look and sound different, but it's just the same thing.

      1. baud Bronze badge

        Re: ... and the best of it

        > They took away his life

        Technically, Turing did the deed himself.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: ... and the best of it

          One could argue that Turing ended his life after the system had taken it away from him.

        2. _LC_ Bronze badge

          Re: ... and the best of it

          That is sinister, as there is no proof of this. Even more so, because by "they took away his life" I, of course, meant them castrating him chemically, among other things. They didn't let him live, whether they even ended up murdering him or not - it was murder already before.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: ... and the best of it

            "by "they took away his life" I, of course, meant them castrating him chemically, among other things."

            As did I.

      2. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: ... and the best of it

        Given that Assange hasn't personally made any world changing contribution to science or society I doubt it. Then again, if the BoE decides to do a series of notes featuring outrageous self publicists he could be in with a chance.

        >>>He is dead. They took away his life<<< Indeed, many other countries would have done (will do?) just that to Turing. He wouldn't have had the chance to suicide after picking chemical castration instead of prison. For the time (early 1950s) he had what was considered a lenient punishment in avoiding jail, many contemporary god botherers would have happily seen him swinging from a rope.

        While this country still has much to remedy, our society has greatly improved in the level of acceptance it shows to minorities of any type and compares well to most others across the world - and we do admit our mistakes eventually.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: ... and the best of it

          The Assange note would encourage saving, though. It would lock itself away for a decade.

      3. Mooseman Silver badge

        Re: ... and the best of it

        you were doing quite well until you brought up Assange.

  16. JDX Gold badge

    You'd think they'd be applauded for putting a gay on the note. But instead they are criticised because they didn't select a black, female gay.

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      twat

      downvoted for not decrying the lack of a disability thus denying my a troll bingo full house

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: twat

        Aren’t you short religion there??

  17. rutlandn

    Date conversion

    Convert the binary to decimal and you get 23061912. Turing was born 23 June 1912.

    Nice and nerdy...

    1. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: Date conversion

      And in proper (UK) DDMMYYYY format to boot.

  18. Roopee
    Coat

    Soon? End of 2021?

    In what world is 2.5 years "soon"? Personally I'm much more interested in when the new plastic £20 notes will be out, so many of the old paper ones in circulation are disgustingly grubby and tatty.

    Mine's the one with plenty of cash in the pocket so I don't have to leave a digital footprint everywhere. And no NFC cards.

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: Soon? End of 2021?

      > In what world is 2.5 years "soon"?

      As you age you will say that less and less. Easter feels like last week to me and I'm already thinking about Christmas shopping.

      I'm only 38 and feel like I'm in a time warp!

  19. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    "The theory" is a bit too strong

    Turing's contributions were tremendous, and I'm happy to see him get this recognition. A couple of quibbles with the article, though:

    Turing developed the theory that underpins all modern computers

    Turing developed a theory of computing. There are others. Post machines are equivalently powerful, and were developed independently; Emil Post's foundational paper was published just a couple of months after Turing's in 1936. Church's lambda calculus is equivalent to Universal Turing Machines, and Church's paper on the untyped lambda calculus was also published in '36.1 Then later we had e.g. cyclic tag systems and Rule 110.

    Turing's is particularly nice, in the sense that it's easy to understand intuitively, it builds on less-powerful abstractions such as DFAs and PDAs, and it corresponds nicely to common physical implementations of computing machines. But calling it "the theory" implies that it's unique as a formal foundation for computing, and that's not true.

    He also devised the Turing test – a thought experiment that attempts to define a standard for a machine to be called "intelligent".

    More or less accurate, but misses the main point. The Imitation Game is presented as a rubric for intelligence (or for thinking), but Turing didn't intend for it to be a "standard" or for people to actually conduct it. (Robert French discussed this in some detail in a piece in CACM some years ago.) The force of Turing's argument is philosophical, specifically to advocate for a monist ontology of mind (minds are phenomena produced by ordinary matter and energy, not some special metaphysical construct) and a pragmatist epistemology of mind: that is, that we will know artificial thought by recognizing its discernible effects, not by intuited correspondence to some presumed essence.

    I've noted in past posts that this curiously positions the British thinker Turing with American pragmatist philosophy, more or less, while the American philosopher John Searle, who gave us the other popularly-known philosophical thought experiment about machine intelligence (the Chinese Room), essentially argued a position from British plain-language philosophy ("what do we mean when we say 'thinking'?"). Turing and Searle both believed in the possibility of machine intelligence, but they had different ideas on how we would know it, and their ideas were, roughly speaking, aligned with the prevailing philosophical schools of one another's countries.

    1Church's original lambda calculus paper was a couple years earlier, but the calculus it described was inconsistent.

    1. USER100

      Re: "The theory" is a bit too strong

      "Turing and Searle both believed in the possibility of machine intelligence"

      This is where, while being a genius, Turing was mistaken.

      'Thniking' cannot be separated from 'feeling', which requires life. A fly has more ability to think than does the biggest supercomputer in the world.

      'AI' is amazing, more tech to do stuff for us that we used to do for ourselves, but please don't pretend there's any actual intelligence behind it (outside the clever programmers).

      Top mathematiciain though, great to see him honoured on the £50

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: "The theory" is a bit too strong

        'AI' is amazing, more tech to do stuff for us that we used to do for ourselves, but please don't pretend there's any actual intelligence behind it (outside the clever programmers).

        well said!

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: "The theory" is a bit too strong

          However well it was said, it's a meaningless claim. Without some coherent theory of mind to support it, it's pure obscurantism. The GP's argument is "only a living thing can feel, and feeling is a prerequisite for thinking". GP fails to support either premise, or define "living". His or her argument is vapid bullshit.

      2. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: "The theory" is a bit too strong

        Re "don't pretend there's any actual intelligence behind it"

        Depends how you define intelligence.

        Number one on google is "the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills."

        Current AI techniques and applications can be called artificial intelligence by that definition.

        If you define intelligence as "creative thinking" then maybe not.

  20. Muscleguy Silver badge

    I cited him

    In my PhD thesis on Developmental Biology I cited Turings reaction diffusion mechanism for morphogen distribution. He contributed to theoretical biology as well. And yes, I did read it. The Ancient Greeks believed you were never truly dead so long as you were remembered. Turing published in the literature and will be cited as the first reference for various things for a long time to come.

  21. BRYN

    I like the fact the binary when entered into a converter is Turings birthday. That's a nice touch.

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