The world-famous Hungarian mathematician János Neumann (also known as John von Neumann) was commemorated on the 66th anniversary of his death at his birthplace in Budapest on Wednesday as part of the Neumann Memorial Year program.
Speaking at the wreath-laying ceremony, István Alföldi, former executive director of the Neumann Society, which organized the event, highlighted János Neumann's personality and his fantastic knowledge, which impressed everyone and still influences us today.
"Can we survive technology?", István Alföldi asked, quoting János Neumann, adding that according to Neumann, technological development, "whose speed has become almost untraceable today", can be controlled in three ways: patience, flexibility and intelligence. But nowadays, the issue of responsibility is increasingly coming to the fore, he pointed out.
He stressed the need to prepare and help prepare everyone for a world that is very different from today's. "Singularity is at the gate – once achieved, nothing will be the same as before," he warned, adding that everyone has a responsibility to ensure that AI and humanity go hand in hand and not in a dystopian scenario.
Vice-Rector General of Óbuda University, András Molnár, said at the ceremony that János Neumann was a genius, his intellectual legacy can be found wherever there is a digital, Neumann-like computer, but his work is much more diverse than that.
In 2023, the Neumann Society commemorates János Neumann, who was born one hundred and twenty years ago, with a year-long series of events. The International Olympiad in Informatics, to be held in Szeged at the end of August, will be one of the key events of the commemorative year. In addition, an interdisciplinary conference will be held at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) in September, and a memorial tree planting in Balatonfüred will pay tribute to János Neumann. The National Bank of Hungary will issue a commemorative coin to mark the anniversary.
The commemorative year will also include a travelling exhibition on the history of science, a fine art exhibition and the publication of a commemorative album on the ideas of János Neumann.
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