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ScuzzBlog: Diaries November 2018

Entry 9th November 2018: Post 01: Alan Turing

Alan Turing

Just a comment really. With so little on the big screen celebrating
the advances in real life technology it seems a pity that we take
one of the giants of computers and turn him into some disturbed
mentally deranged individual. Further, it is as though his problems
of a social issue, which modern society now deems to be acceptable, 
were more significant to his worth than the actual contributions he 
made. The stigma of personal matters in the colouring of ones 
behaviour is one that many struggle with their whole lives. However 
true genius will always rise above those pressures and be blinded 
by its damaging affects fighting to succeed. Alan Turing was an
incredibly successful individual and rather than paint him as
vulnerable and weak we should have been a touch more respectful. 

Personally I couldn't give a jot. I also took with a pinch of salt
all various conflicts between individuals portrayed in the film.
Either the content of books that I read is all untrue or what was
acted out in the Imitation Game had some time portal that let them
see deeper into the world of a top secret government establishment,
which remained a guarded secret late on into the twentieth century.

My biggest grumble was with the lack of focus on the maths, the
research, the activities of those involved to solve problems and
to show just how this was done. There were numerous huts at Bletchley
and they were all tasked with doing various things. The film did not
attempt to cross reference the German intelligence and technology.
It did not explain the work first undertaken in Poland nor the
various different coding systems used by the Germans. The clue to
breaking the code was not simply the happy accident of chatting in
a bar.

None of the later work of the Colossus and the others working close
to Turing were ever touched upon. In fact all those that were shown
in the film appeared to be incidental to the story and not an integral
part of it. None of those in the hut had family on targeted ships.
No decisions on what and what not to do were made by anyone in the
huts. His love was not discovered whilst doing a crossword puzzle.

At times I picked up my large book of the story of this man and felt
like chucking it at the screen. The film was simply a vehicle to sell
a film to the audience on the back of a social comment about his private
problems. Which I will not discuss. The film should have been a celebration
of technology and particularly the computer. Also the amazing work 
in the development of the Colossus and the world we now have because 
of the advances made in the computer.

At the closing of the film the main female character summarises his
worth by having to reassure him of his contributions that are now
apparent to all. I just feel that the whole thread of him, the robbery,
his private life and tensions between him, his fellow workers and
those in charge could seriously have been written around any number
of stories. The fact it was at Bletchley and based around the Enigma
just was so incidental to the whole film, and yet should have taken
centre stage.

Growing up I recall watching the film about R J Mitchell and the 
design of the Spitfire. When that plane successfully carried out 
it's duties in the film there was no doubt that the technological 
masterpiece that possibly turned the war, was the true star of the 
film. The whole film built up in anticipation of the appearance of 
the Spitfire. It was like the cavalry coming to the rescue. Or Neo 
in The Matrix  getting up and beating the crap out of those agents. 
We should applaud our technology and our successes. We should celebrate 
in their worth. We shouldn't need a character to try and reassure 
us of what they are. And also the only significant matter that the 
story cited was the easing of social judgement on certain folk in 
the community.

For me we missed the chance to make a very good film. Instead we 
finished up with what I call a BBC Drama. Saying that if you have 
ever watched The Crucible with Ben Cross I would say time was the 
BBC did know how to make a historical drama.

Can't see me watching that again. More likely to read the book, which 
I  have, which is big. And I mean bloody big. Just as a side issue 
growing  up there was a good series on TV called The Enigma Files. 
It's aim was to  solve unsolved crimes. On the cast was Sharon Mughan 
who is married to  Trevor Eve... or more famously Eddie Shoestring. 

One last comment.... I sense there are those in the world that view 
the technology of Shield and Eddie Stark as Ironman or maybe Star Trek / 
Star Wars ( take your pick ) as being more relevant to our worth as 
human  beings in the pursuit of science. I wouldn't be at all surprised 
when cross  examined about modern technological advances that most 
would cite fantasy  and get confused between science fiction and 
science fact. There are not  Vulcans, There are no warp drives and 
men can't fly without some form of  propulsion system. Trust me.

Just saying.

Anyway let me just say a big thank you to Alan Turing. Without you 
I doubt I would be here today. We owe you so much. 

Alan Turing

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Last updated 9th November 2018

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