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Repurposing Turing's "Human Brake"
October-December 2008 (vol. 30 no. 4)
pp. 108
Marie Hicks, Duke University
In 1945, Turing theorized the "braking" effect of human operators on computing systems. Today, a modified version of his analogy still holds utility, despite the rapid pace of technical improvement in the intervening years.

1. A. Turing, "A.M. Turing's Original Proposal for the Development of an Electronic Computer, reprinted with a foreword by D.W. Davies," Nat'l Physical Laboratory, Div. of Computer Science, April 1972 (The National Archives of the UK: DSIR 30/163), p. 2.
2. P. Bird LEO: The First Business Computer, Hasler, 1994, and D. Caminer et al., User-Driven Innovation: The World's First Business Computer, McGraw-Hill, 1996.
3. C. Hobson interview by M. Hicks, 18 Dec. 2005, London.
4. Bruno Latour's work offers insight into actants' "shared" braking effects in a technological system.
5. Ann Sayce and Cathy Gillespie, interview by M. Hicks, 5 Jan. 2006, London.

Index Terms:
British Computing, Automation, Labor, Turing, human brake,
Marie Hicks, "Repurposing Turing's "Human Brake"," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 108, Oct.-Dec. 2008, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2008.72
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