Thursday, April 7, 2016

Facing Reality

“If we wish to draw philosophical conclusions about our own existence,
our significance, and the significance of the universe itself,
our conclusions should be based on empirical knowledge.
A truly open mind means forcing our imaginations to conform to the evidence of reality,
and not vice versa,
whether or not we like the implications.”
A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing

If there is one thing that is unique about programming, it is that you cannot convince a computer that you are right and it is wrong. It will blindly do exactly what you tell it to do, every time, without fail. (Of course there are hardware failures, but let us set that aside for now).

If there is a problem, you the programmer are responsible and the machine will not get it right until you do. It has been said that this is a big factor in the strange sense of humor that many programmers have. When faced with a machine that will unflinchingly tell you that you are wrong every time, something has to give and it will not be the machine.

So smile, check your source code, again, and keep going. Remember, we are placing our lives in the hands of these machines more and more every day and we are counting on you and your colleagues to get it right.

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