The Turing Test on our sense of history and identity
The anger of a Quiet Man One of the things to me that says a lot about how a country views itself is its treatment of history, or rather its own history and historical heritage.
Today, in The Times, we learn of an even bigger national disgrace, as around 100 computer scientists have felt compelled to write an ‘open letter’ to the Government on ‘Saving the heritage of Bletchley Park - We cannot let Bletchley go to rack and ruin’The Times, Letters, July 24):
“Bletchley Park is ... under threat, this time from the ravages of age and a lack of investment. Many of the huts where the codebreaking occurred are in a terrible state of disrepair.
As a nation, we cannot allow this crucial and unique piece of both British and world heritage to be neglected in this way. The future of the site, buildings, resources and equipment at Bletchley Park must be preserved for future generations by providing secure long-term financial backing.”
Just so. Why on earth this not a major museum completely beats me? Again, we have a national disgrace. It is entirely arguable that the amazing work at Bletchley shortened the Second World War by some two years, and from this work came the very computer on which I am preparing this posting.
What is wrong with us in the UK? We produce some of the world’s finest writers and scientists, yet we seem to want play them down. We are happy to waffle on about ‘global warming’ and ‘organic’ food, while neglecting the truly great scientists who forged our world and enabled us to think as we do. The lack of hard science in most of our media outlets is part of the malaise, while the decline of science in schools and at university is chilling.
I truly believe that the Grand Narrative of ‘Global Warming’ partly feeds on the anti-intellectual and unscientific agar of our petri dish media and society.
But, at the least, as the letter-writers demand, let us save some face, and turn Bletchley into a world-class museum of which we can, for once, be proud. It might even help to make amends for the outrageous and disgraceful treatment of Alan Turing [left], a genius, and one of the father’s of modern computer science.
For, in this particular instance, we owe so much to so few.