Magazine article Screen International

Why the Imitation Game Is the Most Important and Best Picture of Year

Magazine article Screen International

Why the Imitation Game Is the Most Important and Best Picture of Year

Article excerpt

By Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google

Every year around this time, the film community, the media and movie fans around the world look back at the past 12 months and debate and discuss which of the many great films and performances stood above the rest and deserve to be honoured -- and why.

Normally I am not much more than a spectator, not necessarily following so carefully how the nominations process and awarding of the gold statues plays out. However, this year I found myself more interested and focusing on one particular film -- about an extraordinary man who is one of history's truly unsung heroes.

The Imitation Game tells the story of Alan Turing, a British mathematician and cryptologist whose unparalleled brilliance led him to crack the Nazi's so-called unbreakable Enigma Code.

Turing created a machine whose artificial intelligence did what no group of men, no matter how many or how smart, could have conceivably accomplished. His artificial intelligence machine was what many call the first precursor to modern-day devices, making him the grandfather of computers.

According to some experts, Turing was responsible for ending WWII perhaps as much as two years early and saving thousands of lives as a result... so Turing clearly deserves our eternal thanks.

However, he also deserves our apologies, for despite all of his remarkable, life-saving contributions, Turing was arrested in 1952 and charged with the criminal offense of "gross indecency", since the practice of homosexuality was illegal in the UK at the time. His persecution for being gay affected Turing irreversibly and two years later the genius and war hero took his own life by eating a cyanide-laced apple.

This film is a strong and important step towards giving proper credit and embracing one of the world's most innovative minds and courageous heroes.

Back in September, I co-hosted Charlie Rose's annual Aspen conference where we had the incredible opportunity to screen The Imitation Game. The gathering is a formidable one whether you consider yourself an insider in the technology world or not, bringing together so many visionaries in one place, at one time.

It was impressive to see the collection of talent and brainpower who attended the screening: my Google colleague Larry Page, PayPal founder Max Levchin, media titan Arianna Huffington, entrepreneur Yuri Milner, and Secretary Of Defense Robert Gates, to name a few. …

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