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Pioneering genius and the ongoing quest for inclusive innovation

Pascal Brier
Jul 9, 2024

The current spike of Gen AI is prompting more and more people to wonder when AI will surpass human intelligence (and in many disciplines, the bar is already passed).

Interestingly, this is a debate which is far from new. Actually, as early as 1950, one of history’s most brilliant minds published a scientific paper in which he posed the question ‘’Can machines think?’’. This was Alan Turing, who would later become famous for the ‘’Turing Test’’ to determine a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligence. Turing also invented one of the first computing devices in history (the Turing machine) by the age of 24.

But it was during World War II that Turing made some of his greatest contributions to humanity. Working at the Allied codebreaking center of Bletchley Park, Turing and his team managed to crack the Nazi Enigma code, which significantly contributed to the Allied victory.

Even after the war, he made lasting contributions to the fields of mathematics, biology and what would eventually be called Artificial Intelligence.

But despite all of this, Turing was persecuted and even put on trial for homosexuality. He ended up committing suicide in June 1954 (although there is still some debate whether his death might be an accident).

Alan Turing’s legacy is vast and multifaceted. His life story is also a powerful reminder of the consequences of prejudice. As Pride Month comes to a close, it reminds all of us of our responsibility to build, protect and defend an inclusive work culture in our organizations, empowering talented minds like Turing to thrive regardless of our respective gender identities and sexual orientations.

Meet the author

Pascal Brier

Group Chief Innovation Officer
Pascal Brier was appointed Group Chief Innovation Officer and member of the Group Executive Committee on January 1st, 2021. In this position, Pascal oversees Technology, Innovation and Ventures for the Group.