Eminent Introduction – Alan Turing

We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.

—Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence, 1950

To fully fathom the extent of Turing’s intellect is beyond our human capacity. A man plentiful of twists and turns, a man difficult to decode, and a man whose mind was greater than what he could accomplish. How do we begin to comprehend the eminence of Turing’s genius?

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Alan Turing, aged 16

An exceptional influence on the advancement of theoretical computer science, his designs for a general purpose computer—the Turing machine—are monumental in providing a systematic approach to algorithmic computation. Throughout the Second World War, Turing played a crucial role in cryptology; he contrived techniques to crack German ciphers and posed the central force in breaking the Enigma code, thereby helping the Allies win the war. Considered by many the father of artificial intelligence, one of his most well-known works, the Turing test, has caused a significant and lasting impact. The test, designed to examine a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour comparable to that of a human, has remained a fundamental concept in the philosophy and ethics of AI. Turing’s seminal work on morphogenesis and mathematical biology described his effort to explain the natural phenomena of spirals, stripes, and patterns in nature.

However, obstacles arose when Turing was charged with gross indecency after admitting to having a homosexual affair with another man, which at the time was an illegal offence. He underwent hormonal treatment via injections for libido reduction and was barred from working for the Government Communications Headquarters any longer. The challenge of society preventing Turing from progressing further in his work and study led to a halt in his productivity. It is suspected that his later death only two years later was suicide, a result of the backlash he received for being gay.

Although he may not have been remembered nor accepted due to his homosexuality before, it’s vital we honour him now for his work and numerous contributions to his discipline. The epitome of a true computer scientist, his scope of genius not only was limited to computing but spread to all areas of sciences, biology, the arts, and engineering. His insight into the future and vision of a world powered by artificial intelligence was much ahead of his time. The technological marvels we’ve become accustomed to today are the brainchild of Turing’s brilliance.

His enthralling yet tragic life sets him apart from among the many great computer scientists of his time; his drastic ups and downs, feats, failures, and obstacles draw me into my notable’s elaborate story. Turing’s perseverance through the devastation of wartime and his philosophy to keep dreaming of a better tomorrow is a lesson for us all.

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Statue of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park

Turing and I share a passion for computers and technology. He and I could also be viewed as farouche; both of us are reserved, shy, and introverted. Turing was particularly known to be unsociable around the company of others. However, most qualities I share in common with my chosen notable are not my envisionment of an ideal individual. Instead, I aspire to emulate the many other traits Turing possessed that allowed him to endeavour great feats. His resourcefulness, determination, perseverance, and ambition are all qualities I strive to follow.

One of my goals in TALONS is to become a better, more confident leader and individual. My eminent person definitely exemplifies this throughout his career and work. Without his leadership within Hut 8 and the Ultra intelligence during WWII, the Allies may never have cracked the Enigma code.

I’ve never lived in a time of homophobia and have never experienced war firsthand, unlike Turing. To combat this barrier in my speech, I’ll make an effort to focus more on his unique character and personality, rather than the impacts society has brought upon him.

My next steps for studying my eminent person will be to contact those connected to Alan Turing and find whether they’d be willing to be interviewed. For my eminent project this year, I hope to be able to find an expert on my notable and be able to interview them in person.


Independent Novel Study – First Third

Book: We Are All Made Of Molecules

Stewart’s comment of Ashley’s gay biological father sparks a heated conversation between the newly settled family. Immediately, Ashley is able to voice an opinion, which is both unprecedented and impressive to me. However, her indignant speech reveals her weakness with thinking before speaking and staying appropriate with her tone and language around others; she herself admits “words, like a lot of other things, are not my strong point” (62). Ashley’s desire for the rest of the family to understand her dismay and chagrin is clear. She wants to revert to a normal life with her mother and father in the same household. Not only does she dread her life falling apart, but she also fears most the secret of her dad’s homosexuality spreading throughout her school, claiming to Stewart “If you so much as breathe a word to anyone at school about my dad, I will have you killed!” (62). The external conflict between Ashley and her mother derives from their polar opposites of wants; while her mom evidently loves Leonard and his son Stewart, Ashley wishes they’d disappear, profusely proclaiming “I didn’t ask for these two strangers to move into our house” (61). Similarly, I relate to the conflicts Ashley faces in my own personal life; my aunt has recently found a partner who makes her happy, however, I subjectively despise him. While Ashley’s response to her consternation is reasonable, personally I’d handle the issue in a more formal manner, speaking about my concerns directly to the recipient.

Dad is Dying Paragraph Response

Despite the chaos and confusion produced by the predicament of Sam’s lie, ultimately, the benefits outweigh the harm it caused. A bustling family amidst unremitting disarray, the lie has helped Sam’s parents turn their lives around for the better. For Dave, the misunderstanding helped reinvigorate his sense of self-esteem and personal image. Initially “engulfed in a full-blown hypochondriacal funk,” Dave’s anxiety of his ageing self and increasing wrinkles took over his life (139). Out of the blue, once Dave began to find that “everyone he met had something nice to say,” which unbeknownst to him was simply out of sympathy for his awaiting death, he figured that he was looking fine after all and was healthier than he surmised (153). The confidence he obtained from his complimented appearance revealed newfound positivity in his life. Morley also felt her life in shambles; through the spring, she suffered “feeling a loss of connection with everything that mattered to her” due to a hectic life (139). By easing her workload, the lie lifted some weight off her shoulders and provided her with free time to spend with herself and family. As neighbours and close friends came to comfort Morley in the difficult time of Dave’s supposed moribund condition, offering lasagna dinners and favours, her stress and daily burden disappeared; even Sam claims “he hadn’t seen her so relaxed in months” (156). The generosity and compassion of the community have allowed Morley to step back from life’s continuous flurry of toil, allowing her more time to savour with family. Overall, the fortuitous positive impacts on Sam’s family offset the consequences, leading me to believe that his lie truly ended up rescuing his mother and father.

Ranking Roommates Paragraph Response

Alex, Will You Be My Roommate?

A well-rounded individual, I believe Alex would be the best choice for a summer camp roommate as his multifaceted personality would suit well for a diverse amount of activities at camp. Ostensibly an athletic individual, Alex also seems to be understanding and deferential of other’s personal privacy and needs. At first glance a jock, it is evident that Alex takes on a sporty, active lifestyle. Notably, Alex claims that basketball is the most important thing in his life and that it is his favourite after-school pastime. Although I may not be the most athletic, I do take a keen interest in basketball and ponder on learning the sport one day. Having a roommate such as Alex could potentially introduce me to a new sport I would never have chosen to explore before. Furthermore, Alex understands the need for personal space and time by demonstrating that he doesn’t need to constantly be occupied and can instead enjoy slower paced, calmer activities such as art and reading. In addition to having a good mix of interests, Alex looks to be someone who’d be happy to wind down after a tiring day with a good book. After all, it can be difficult having to spend day and night with incessantly energetic and spry people. Altogether, Alex’s balanced hobbies and traits lead me to believe that Alex would make the best fit for a summer roommate.

Digital Footprint Reflection

How might your digital footprint affect your future opportunities? Give at least two examples.

  1. When applying for a job or internship, employers may search online for your name. Your digital footprint can determine whether you land the job or not; a professional presence will look much better than a digital footprint with a trail of misconduct.
  2. Your digital footprint can affect your admittance into post-secondary education such as colleges or universities. How you appear and behave online will be taken into consideration by such institutions.

Describe at least three strategies that you can use to keep your digital footprint appropriate and safe.

  1. Always think before you post anything on the internet: ensure that what you’re posting is true, isn’t hurtful, isn’t illegal, and kind. Additionally, ask yourself whether what you’re posting is necessary.
  2. Make sure to think about whether what you post might be embarrassing in the future.
  3. Remind yourself that everything you post will realistically stay on the internet forever; it is nearly impossible to delete your digital footprint. Think twice before posting, because what you post can stay online for eternity.

If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do differently online? Think of what type of advice you would pass on to your younger self or other students. How could you go about explaining it to them?

I sometimes regret posting a certain post often due to me not thinking thoroughly about what I was posting online before I hit the send button. I’d try to delete it before others could view it, but it’s difficult to do so; with everyone on their phones/devices and being active online daily, my posts would most likely have already made their way to others. Going back in time, if I were to do anything differently online, it would be always taking a minute to think about if what I’m posting reflects on who I am as a person.