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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Review of Imitation Game: Alan Turing Movie and Asset Values

Saw the recently released Alan Turing Biopic yesterday.

There were a few big errors in fact and emphasis. Like barely mentioning the key Polish results in solving the Enigma.  Inferring Turing and his small team figured it all out themselves.  Including the fact that a fundamental user error by the Germans allowed the code to be broken.   In fact Turing then mostly made it more efficient to break the code by mechanizing the search for the machine settings.

Movie showed conditions the security obsessed British would not have allowed.  Like casually discussing their work in a public bar.  Even a hint that they were working on it would have devastated the effort.   Recall that most of the information about this era was not revealed until 50 years later, in the 90s. I read about some of it then.  The agreements in the 1940s NDAs involved were largely kept.

Turing's 'girlfriend' played by Keira Knightly, was too model-like.   A sexism lesson was required, and made, though many women had been used at Bletchley before. Admittedly not in 'management'.  Some obvious, melodramatic and 'just so' solutions were depicted.

His 'computer' was very special purpose, but implied to be much more.  His Turing 'Machine' was a fundamental thought experiment, but that was not adequately differentiated or explained.

There was an excellent depiction of why once you broke the code you had to statistically dole out its use, to have it be of any value at all.  Effectively choosing who would die in a very hot war.   Few people understand this.  But this has a real data asset management and valuation message,  even today. See link on this topic below.

The deep irony of AI and imitation game concepts mirroring his own sexuality were also well done. Ben Cumberbatch was superb in presenting a quirky geek.  

But I am splitting hairs, you can't explain a complex life in an hour and forty minutes. Overall one of the best tech bio pics  I have seen, despite the flaws. Was surprised to see it in a crowded theater. Thought it would not be many peoples cup of tea.  See it if you can.

More on Alan Turing in this blog.


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