Can you beat the father of artificial intelligence at Monopoly?
- By Michael PeckMichael Peck is an award-winning writer specializing in defense and national security issues. He holds an MA in political science from Rutgers University.
There are currently 2,355 different versions of Monopoly, according to one estimate. So it’s no surprise that someone has turned computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing’s life into a Monopoly game, especially since Turing himself played the game.
Monopoly: The Alan Turing Edition is based upon a "hand-drawn version of Monopoly on which we know Alan Turing played over 50 years ago," according to the rules booklet. The game, which was funded by Google, is available from Bletchley Park National Codes Centre, where Turing developed the first computers and helped decipher the code of the Nazi’s supposedly unbreakable Enigma machine, significantly shortening World War II.
Those hoping for a game on cryptography will be disappointed. This is Monopoly, not a National Security Agency training simulation. The properties on the board are drawn from events in the life of Turing and the history of Bletchley Park. The tokens are the same as regular Monopoly — the hat, the dog, and so on — but instead of landing on Baltic Avenue or Marvin Gardens, they land on the Enigma Machine, The Bombe, and The Turing Test. Naturally, instead of Boardwalk and Park Place, the priciest properties are Bletchley Park and Kings College, Cambridge. Americans playing this game may find themselves pausing for tea and speaking in a posh accent.
The deck of Chance cards is funny, though probably funnier to someone familiar with Oxbridge culture. I didn’t quite get the "You Win the Walton Athletic Club Long-Distance Running Championship — Pay 50 Pounds." But I had to smile at the "You Write a Chess Program for a Computer That Does Not Exist — Collect 200 Pounds." And the "Buy a Chain to Secure Your Mug to the Radiator — Pay 50 Pounds" conjured up images of a bunch of eccentric geniuses crowded into austere wartime huts and stealing each other’s teacups.
By the way, the story is that William Newman, the son of Turing’s Bletchley Park colleague Max Newman, drew his own Monopoly board because a genuine Monopoly game during wartime would have been too expensive. When Turing heard about the game, he rushed to the Newman home. Turing played William Newman’s game once — and lost. Even genius is no substitute for a "Get Out of Jail Free" card.
John Arquilla earned his degrees in international relations from Rosary College (BA 1975) and Stanford University (MA 1989, PhD 1991). He has been teaching in the special operations program at the United States Naval Postgraduate School since 1993. He also serves as chairman of the Defense Analysis department.
Dr. Arquilla’s teaching interests revolve around the history of irregular warfare, terrorism, and the implications of the information age for society and security.
His books include: Dubious Battles: Aggression, Defeat and the International System (1992); From Troy to Entebbe: Special Operations in Ancient & Modern Times (1996), which was a featured alternate of the Military Book Club; In Athena’s Camp (1997); Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime and Militancy (2001), named a notable book of the year by the American Library Association; The Reagan Imprint: Ideas in American Foreign Policy from the Collapse of Communism to the War on Terror (2006); Worst Enemy: The Reluctant Transformation of the American Military (2008), which is about defense reform; Insurgents, Raiders, and Bandits: How Masters of Irregular Warfare Have Shaped Our World (2011); and Afghan Endgames: Strategy and Policy Choices for America’s Longest War (2012).
Dr. Arquilla is also the author of more than one hundred articles dealing with a wide range of topics in military and security affairs. His work has appeared in the leading academic journals and in general publications like The New York Times, Forbes, Foreign Policy Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Wired and The New Republic. He is best known for his concept of “netwar” (i.e., the distinct manner in which those organized into networks fight). His vision of “swarm tactics” was selected by The New York Times as one of the “big ideas” of 2001; and in recent years Foreign Policy Magazine has listed him among the world’s “top 100 thinkers.”
In terms of policy experience, Dr. Arquilla worked as a consultant to General Norman Schwarzkopf during Operation Desert Storm, as part of a group of RAND analysts assigned to him. During the Kosovo War, he assisted deputy secretary of defense John Hamre on a range of issues in international information strategy. Since the onset of the war on terror, Dr. Arquilla has focused on assisting special operations forces and other units on practical “field problems.” Most recently, he worked for the White House as a member of a small, nonpartisan team of outsiders asked to articulate new directions for American defense policy.| Rational Security |