It’s impossible to overstate the legacy of Claude Shannon. The paper he wrote for his master’s thesis is the foundation of electronic digital computing. As a cryptographer for the U.S. Government during WWII, he developed the first unbreakable cipher. For fun, he tinkered with electronic switches, and one of his inventions–an electromechanic mouse he called Theseus–could teach itself to navigate a maze. If you’re thinking, “that sounds a lot like artificial intelligence,” you’re right. He regularly brushed shoulders with Einstein and Alan Turing, and his work in electronic communications and signal processing–the stuff that earned him the moniker “the father of information theory”–led to revolutionary changes in the storage and transmission of data.