The History of Challenge Coins
Military challenge coins date back to World War I when a young airman was saved from execution as a saboteur when he was able to produce a bronze coin with his unit’s insignia Since then they’ve become an important part of a western military tradition.
Here at Mycroft, we have designed challenge coins as a way to recognize to members of our community for contributions. Our challenge coins are unique and tell a story about who we are, where we came from and where we are going. Here are some of the symbols and statements on our coins and their meaning.
Symbolism – Front
On the front of the Mycroft Challenge Coin, we have embedded our company logo. The company logo is an homage to the book that inspired Mycroft – The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. The center of the logo represents the earth. One side is in full sunlight and the other in shadow. The small circle at the top of the logo represents the moon in orbit.
The front of the coin includes the phrase : Loquor ergo cogito, Cogito ergo sum. Translated from Latin this means: I speak therefore I think, I think therefore I am. This phrase neatly sums up our AI thesis.
Our thesis is that if you make a system that can interact naturally, carry on a conversation and interact just like a person, it becomes – in fact – a person. This idea, originally Alan Turing’s – is at the core of our strong AI strategy. If a computer can speak naturally and interact with people seamlessly it thinks and a thinking computer that understands and can answer questions about itself and our reality is – by definition – a person.
Symbolism – Back
The back of the coin includes a brass cannon set over a field of stars. This cannon is a symbol of the hubris it takes to start your own company and is taken from a passage in the book:
The brass cannon is a symbol of how naive and hopeful our team has to be to undertake a task as daunting and impossible as building a strong AI.
The back of the coin also includes the phrase Non est talis res ut liberum prandium. Translated to english this means “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” This phrase is there to remind us that building a strong, viable and productive open source community is a ton of work. Even though the software is free, it is only free because of the hard work and dedication of thousands of volunteers.