Ray Dillinger <email@example.com> wrote:
| There is such a thing as emergent simplicity. We do not, in fact,
| live in a technosphere of ever-increasing complexity; the lower
| levels, which we're building new stuff on, get compressed and
| crystallized and, almost magically, become simple.
That would only be true if everyone were cooperating. The reality is
that there are strong economic reasons for certain large companies to
*NOT* want things to get simpler, but instead for complexity to continue
to increase at a rate at which *they* can barely keep up but with which
competitors with lesser resources cannot.
[This is, loosely speaking, perhaps the economic warfare equivalent of
cryptography expert Ron Rivest's notion of "winnowing and chaffing" --
attaining confidentiality without encryption by filling the environment
with sufficient needless complexity to overload attackers' ability to
discriminate "the good stuff".]
Otherwise, simple XML-RPC would never have metasticized into SOAP, etc.
| There can never more complexity, at any one time, than we can manage;
| but the limitation does not mean progress has to stop.
Again, "we" is not a singleton, atomic "thing". There are many competing
"we"s in the world. Some "we"s can well be ovewhelmed by complexity which
other "we"s (perhaps better-funded) are able to handle (barely).
| Today's complexity is merely the stuff that we haven't got around
| to standardizing and forgetting yet, and it will pass into simplicity
| as the next generation of complexities grow and disgruntled businessmen
| realize that once it becomes a commodity they can't profit from it
| anymore. Profit is only made in the complex parts of the technosphere.
I cynically, perhaps, fear you are mistaken, that the economic pressure
is *not* towards a "crystalline simplicity" that would benefit all of us,
but instead towards "just enough simpler that *my* company can handle it"
[for various values of "me"]...
Rob Warnock <firstname.lastname@example.org>
627 26th Avenue <URL:http://rpw3.org/>
San Mateo, CA 94403 (650)572-2607