Subject: Re: Advantages of Lisp?
From: (Rob Warnock)
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 07:15:52 -0600
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>
Ray Dillinger  <> 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			<>
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