alan kay Quotes

Alan Kay Quotes

Birth Date: 1940-05-17 (Friday, May 17th, 1940)

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    • The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
    • If you don't fail at least 90 percent of the time, you're not aiming high enough.
    • By the time I got to school, I had already read a couple hundred books. I knew in the first grade that they were lying to me because I had already been exposed to other points of view. School is basically about one point of view -- the one the teacher has or the textbooks have. They don't like the idea of having different points of view, so it was a battle. Of course I would pipe up with my five-year-old voice.
    • Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible.
    • Technology is anything that wasn't around when you were born.
    • Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves.
    • OOP to me means only messaging, local retention and protection and hiding of state-process, and extreme late-binding of all things. It can be done in Smalltalk and in LISP. There are possibly other systems in which this is possible, but I'm not aware of them.
    • Perl is another example of filling a tiny, short-term need, and then being a real problem in the longer term. Basically, a lot of the problems that computing has had in the last 25 years comes from systems where the designers were trying to fix some short-term thing and didn't think about whether the idea would scale if it were adopted. There should be a half-life on software so old software just melts away over 10 or 15 years.
    • Basic would never have surfaced because there was always a language better than Basic for that purpose. That language was Joss, which predated Basic and was beautiful. But Basic happened to be on a GE timesharing system that was done by Dartmouth, and when GE decided to franchise that, it started spreading Basic around just because it was there, not because it had any intrinsic merits whatsoever.
    • Computing spread out much, much faster than educating unsophisticated people can happen. In the last 25 years or so, we actually got something like a pop culture, similar to what happened when television came on the scene and some of its inventors thought it would be a way of getting Shakespeare to the masses. But they forgot that you have to be more sophisticated and have more perspective to understand Shakespeare. What television was able to do was to capture people as they were. So I think the lack of a real computer science today, and the lack of real software engineering today, is partly due to this pop culture.
    • Sun Microsystems had the right people to make Java into a first-class language, and I believe it was the Sun marketing people who rushed the thing out before it should have gotten out.
    • If the pros at Sun had had a chance to fix Java, the world would be a much more pleasant place. This is not secret knowledge. It's just secret to this pop culture.
    • I fear -as far as I can tell- that most undergraduate degrees in computer science these days are basically Java vocational training. I've heard complaints from even mighty Stanford University with its illustrious faculty that basically the undergraduate computer science program is little more than Java certification.
    • Most creativity is a transition from one context into another where things are more surprising. There's an element of surprise, and especially in science, there is often laughter that goes along with the 'Aha.' Art also has this element. Our job is to remind us that there are more contexts than the one that we're in-the one that we think is reality.
    • I hired finishers because I'm a good starter and a poor finisher.
    • The flip side of the coin was that even good programmers and language designers tended to do terrible extensions when they were in the heat of programming, because design is something that is best done slowly and carefully.
    • Actually I made up the term 'object-oriented', and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind.
    • The future is not laid out on a track. It is something that we can decide, and to the extent that we do not violate any known laws of the universe, we can probably make it work the way that we want to.
    • The real romance is out ahead and yet to come. The computer revolution hasn't started yet. Don't be misled by the enormous flow of money into bad defacto standards for unsophisticated buyers using poor adaptations of incomplete ideas.
    • People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.
    • A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points.
    • Perspective is worth 80 IQ points.
    • Point of view is worth 80 IQ points
    • ... greatest single programming language ever designed. (About Lisp programming language)
    • alan kay

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