I’ve been putting this post off for a few months now but as seeing as this is a public holiday, I’ve got some time to share my thoughts on Alan Turing.
Honestly, before Benedict Cumberbatch was set to play him in The Imitation Game, I had only heard of Alan briefly in my sister’s musings of the men who have inspired her in her quest to win the Nobel Prize.
Turing, known as the creator of modern computers, not Bill Gates btw, published a paper in 1936 that would go on to be the foundation of computer science, an important role in A.I. and the inventor of the Universal Machine.
Turing analysed what it meant for a human to follow a definite method or procedure to perform a task. For this purpose, he invented the idea of a ‘Universal Machine’ that could decode and perform any set of instructions. Ten years later he would turn this revolutionary idea into a practical plan for an electronic computer, capable of running any program.
When the movie came out, I watched it for
Benedict the plot. Sure, I really enjoyed the movie but one thing disturbed me somewhat.
You see, at that time up til’ 1967, homosexuality was against the law in England. Turing who was a practicing gay man was prosecuted when his affairs came to light. Instead of going to prison, he was forced to accept probation under the condition of chemical castration. In a nutshell, it is a hormonal treatment that reduces sex drive. The side effects include; breast enlargement, infertility, bone density loss and ambiguously but indubitably; depression.
Where is the humanity? How depraved were the minds that were convinced this was the best treatment for “correcting” a sexual orientation believed to be a mental illness at the time?
He was said to have committed suicide in 1954 at the tender age of 41. Maybe mentally he was always standing on the edge, but can we say with certainty the way he was treated and harassed was not even slightly a nudge in the push that shoved him over?
It’s speculated that he planned his death by injecting cyanide into an apple and eating it because he was so fascinated by the death of Snow White.
In 2013, he was granted a posthumous royal pardon by the Queen cancelling his criminal conviction. Frankly, while a pardon from Her Majesty is a fitting tribute in righting the wrong, it’s about 59 years too late for Alan but I hope this is a step in raising awareness to treat criminals with much more humane methods.
Alan Turing, like many other great inventors and contributors, never lived to see the tsunami of change his inventions brought to this world. I wonder if he was alive, what would he say when he sees we now have his invention in the palm of our hands?
On another note: #TEAMSHAMY!!! It’s a public holiday miracle!
Thinking of: That 70’s show, Ashton Kutcher, tie-dye, Sheldon you brilliant fool and why do creative geniuses die young?