An apple a day

The Council of the Human Resistance met in the bombed out shell of St Peters. The machines knew the importance of religion in human life and hence places of religious importance were among the military targets taken out by them during the initial phase of The War. The Chinese Leader started the meeting with her usual, “What’s the situation”? The once arrogant American General, long mellowed down by the ravages of The War, replied with the run down of the various losses and defeats the Resistance faced. “The Resistance is on its last legs”, he said, “Within the next months, all organized resistance would end. After that the few remaining groups would be efficiently hunted down. We are near the end, gentlemen and madam.”

The long silence that followed was punctuated by the restlessness of the Indian Scientist. Leader recognized that he has something to say and so invited him to start on his usual long winded science mumbo jumbo. “We finally have results!”, he started off, “Our experiments shows that we can make a small hole in the time space fabric and use that hole to send matter across!”. Leader said, “English please.” The Bureaucrat, perhaps the most intelligent human still alive, replied with his characteristic British understatement, “He means that we can time travel.” The gasps across the table was silenced by the Leader requesting the Scientist to explain more and to try to keep it in a language that everyone can understand. “Yes, our experiments prove that we have the capability to time travel. But lots of sork still needs to be done on it.” “When can it become operational?” asked the General, with his mind racing through all the battles he could win andfinally resting on the realization that they could just stop the AI before it was even born!

“It is not that simple. We are at a stage where we can send an object the size of a cricket ball back to the past. But the effects of the transition would utterly destroy our submarine lab. We would require a few more months to bring the transition under control.” The General bellowed, “We dont have a couple of months. We have to make use of it now!” The Bureaucrat said, “In any case whatever we send to the past, is not going to change our present or our future. The way it works is that the effects of our effort will affect an alternate timeline. The only effect for us would be to lose a cricket ball and somewhere in another timeline, a child will mysteriously find a ball to play with.” “Useless! We spent so much money and effort for something that gives us nothing! I could have used that submarine in battle rather that wasting it”! “Which would have made no change in our present situation, General. Even if our future remains bleak, at least by our effort, somewhere, in another timeline, my children would still be alive and the world would still be worth living.” Turning to the Bureacrat, she said, “Determine what to send, where to send and what it would achieve. May this be our final blow against the AI.”

A week later, The bureacrat sent a memo to the Leader, “We will send an apple. It will reach on 7th June 1954.”


Alan was pacing around in his study. He could feel the seeds of an idea blossoming in his mind. He knew that if he could pursue this line of thought, it would revolutionize the field of AI. It would be far bigger contribution to the field than all his work combined. He wanted to eat. He went into the kitchen and saw a shrivelled apple. He wondered why his mother did not throw it away already. Then he shrugged and picked it up. While eating it, he wondered why the apple smelled of bitter almonds.

———— The End ————

Post Script: (Courtesy Wikipedia)

Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS , was an English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist. He was highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of “algorithm” and “computation” with the Turing machine, which played a significant role in the creation of the modern computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence.

On 8 June 1954, Turing’s cleaner found him dead; he had died the previous day. A post-mortem examination established that the cause of death was cyanide poisoning. When his body was discovered an apple lay half-eaten beside his bed, and although the apple was not tested for cyanide,it is speculated that this was the means by which a fatal dose was delivered. An inquest determined that he had committed suicide.

Potassium Cyanide is highly toxic. The moist solid emits small amounts of hydrogen cyanide due to hydrolysis, which smells like bitter almonds.