Now that the memory machine and the electronic brain were upon us, it seemed that we were really facing a new revolution;
not an industrial one, but a revolution of the mind, and the responsibilities facing the scientists to-day were formidable and serious.
'Let us see to it,' he concluded, 'that we not only insist on being allowed to shoulder it; but that when we have established our right, we can also prove our fitness.'
In 1946 people still believed that the great war surplus of scientific and technical advance could be turned to good use,
although Mountbatten's comments on 'responsibilities' reflected the fact that few had any idea of how this was going to be achieved.
The ENIAC had been released from military secrecy months before, and Hartree had written about it in the scientific journal Nature,21 but it needed Mountbatten to make it 'news'.
He had taken his information from the NPL, and the inaccurate reference to chess-playing machines would suggest that he heard an excited Alan Turing talking about the future possibilities of the ACE.
(There was, of course, no machine in existence that could play chess.)
Darwin and Hartree were embarrassed not only by Mountbatten getting the wrong ends of the technical sticks, but also by his perfectly correct assertion that the ACE would exercise 'hitherto human prerogatives of choice and judgment'.
They did not like to criticise Mountbatten, but wrote22 to The Times complaining that its headline ELECTRONIC BRAIN had given a false impression.