July 23rd, 2014


That Alan Turing Movie

So there's a movie about Alan Turing coming out featuring Burgerking Chowderpants, and here is a trailer for it.

I have some thoughts on this, insofar as it looks like the most boring prestige piece that could be made about Turing's life. I have a deep resentment over the fact that it looks like it's been made for the express purpose of winning lots of Oscars. I hate the crying and the screaming. I hate the overwrought music. I hate the focus on WWII. I hate the fact that they'll most likely turn him into some sort of tragic queer character who will barely kiss or hold hands with a dude in the movie.

It always surprises me to hear people say that Alan Turing is some sort of figure that's been lost to history. I know that this is from a very particular (computer scientist) perspective, but he's got his name over pretty much all of computer science. Oh, Turing machines? That's him. Oh, Turing completeness? That's him, too. Oh, the Turing test? Him again. We haven't forgotten him. I don't think we ever really will.

His contributions to computer science are huge, and they're important, and it's not the sort of thing that plays nicely on the big screen. Looking at this movie, all I can see is the ways in which they can overstate and fail to capture what really makes his work so impressive. His contributions are pretty much pure math, not engineering. I'm not sure how much they'll acknowledge this.

It makes me sad that we're going to get A Beautiful Mind II: Now With More Code. Look at this Great Man Nerd who does Nerd Things! Look at how he defeats the Nazis! Look at him invent the computer! Look at him die so tragically! Now will you give us all the awards? Please?

Sigh. Let me know when the Ada Lovelace or Grace Hopper get their own movies, though.

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