20th Century: 1950

The British mathematician and computer pioneer Alan Turing published a paper describing the potential development of human and computer intelligence and communication. The paper would come later to be called the Turing Test.

The Pilot ACE computer, with 800 vacuum tubes, and mercury delay lines for its main memory, became operational on 10 May 1950 at the National Physical Laboratory near London. It was a preliminary version of the full ACE, which had been designed by Alan Turing.

The United States Government received the UNIVAC 1101 or ERA 1101. This computer was considered to be the first computer that was capable of storing and running a program from memory.

Bertie the Brain is an early computer game of Tic-Tac-Toe. Built for the 1950 Canadian National Exhibition the game allowed players to play against an AI opponent. Player input was given using a lit keypad and the state of the game displayed on panels lit by light bulbs rather than a conventional screen. An additional panel with light bulbs would show whether the player or AI was on. The difficulty of the AI could be adjusted by the operator. Bertie the Brain was created to demonstrate the additron tube, which was soon surpassed by the transistor.

Bertie the Brain – 1950

The first broadcast of Come Dancing, Broadway Open House, Your Show of Shows, and What’s My Line?. Jack Benny and Burns & Allen move from radio to TV.

Cuba is the first Caribbean country to receive TV. Brazil is the first South American country to receive TV.

Nielsen Media Research begins to provide television rating data.

Top Film of 1950:

Top Song of 1950: Goodnight Irene by Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers.

Images of 1950:

A new chapter in space flight began in July 1950 with the launch of the first rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida: the Bumper 2.
1950 magazine ad