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Over the past month the BBC have been running a series of programmes to decide the most influential individual of the 20th century in several categories such as Sport, Science and Leaders. The public then voted for their choice, before the winners of each category went up against each other in the final. The winner was announced to be World War Two code breaker, Alan Turing. I feel that the winner and the shortlist (which can be found here) definitely have a British bias, so I thought I'd ask what you guys think. So Phuks, who do you think was the most influential figure of the 20th Century?

Over the past month the BBC have been running a series of programmes to decide the most influential individual of the 20th century in several categories such as Sport, Science and Leaders. The public then voted for their choice, before the winners of each category went up against each other in the final. The winner was announced to be World War Two code breaker, Alan Turing. I feel that the winner and the shortlist (which can be found [here](https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/xfhZH9qWPt1G8F2mbN2fVc/meet-the-icons)) definitely have a British bias, so I thought I'd ask what you guys think. So Phuks, who do you think was the most influential figure of the 20th Century?

9 comments

[–] xyzzy 2 points (+2|-0)

Most of the big influences in the 20eth century weren't form single persons. Also what is meant by "influential", influential then or now? Influential where? Average people, Science, Engineering, politics?

Turing isn't a bad choice, the Turing machine (aka the programmable computer) did influence the world a lot in the later part of the 20est century. But sure there are many more who could claim the title of the "most influential". Depending on viewing point it might have been Mao, Einstein, Mandela, Zuse, Ford, Hitler, Berners Lee, Stalin, and many others. None of them was working and therefore owed credit alone AFAIK.

Teams usually outperform single persons.

[–] das_american 1 points (+1|-0)

Gotta look at the biggest changes of the 20th century. Alan Turing is right up there. Maybe Nicola Tesla for bringing us AC current? Henry Ford for industrializing car production? Al Gore for inventing the internet?

[–] doggone 1 points (+1|-0)

I'd like to attack the shortlist... However, the BBC isn't asking who was the most influential, but to "assess the achievements" of those who were proposed as "most important and influential," making it a sort of "who do you like the most" list.

[–] SerRobertStrong 1 points (+1|-0)

True, if you were truly going for a list of the most influential people then you’d have to include a few unsavoury characters, although I’m not sure it would go down right well if they included Hitler. I think most polls turn out to be a popularity contest. Would people still be voting for Turing over some of the other options if The Immitation Game didn’t come out a few years ago? I doubt it.

[–] KillBill 1 points (+1|-0)

Well it definitely depends on your perspective. First thoughts are that it's giving Turing way to much credit but for Old England the influence would be huge.

My pick for biggest influence is the internet and I cannot think of any one person who is most responsible for that. Humanity has become a hive species anyway(accelerated by the internet) so, with that in mind, I disagree with the whole concept of picking one person out as the most influential.

[–] BUTTHOLE_EMPRESS 1 points (+1|-0)

I'm not sure how you would pick someone, but I think the world would be much more different without J.R.R Tolkien, especially science. If you look at the western world, how it sees itself, and the effect his work has had on science fiction. A lot of people like Hitler would have been replaced I think you could argue, if they did not exist.