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Quotes of the day: Alan Kay

Published Friday, May 17, 2013 @ 8:49 AM EDT
May 17 2013

Alan Kay (born May 17, 1940) is an American computer scientist whose Dynabook, proposed in 1972, served as the conceptual prototype for the design and development of laptop and slate computers. He was the original architect of the overlapping-window user interface, and coined the phrase "object-oriented programming." (Click for Wikipedia article).

A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points.

A successful technology creates problems that only it can solve.

Actually I made up the term "object-oriented", and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind.

Any company large enough to have a research lab is too large to listen to it.

Any medium powerful enough to extend man's reach is powerful enough to topple his world. To get the medium's magic to work for one's aims rather than against them is to attain literacy.

I don't have an enormous desire to help children, but I have an enormous desire to create better adults.

I like to say that in the old days, if you reinvented the wheel, you would get your wrist slapped for not reading. But nowadays people are reinventing the flat tire.

If you don't fail at least 90 percent of the time, you're not aiming high enough.

Most creativity is a transition from one context into another where things are more surprising.

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.

Most undergraduate degrees in computer science these days are basically Java vocational training.

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

People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.

PowerPoint is just simulated acetate overhead slides, and to me, that is a kind of a moral crime.

Quite a few people have to believe something is normal before it becomes normal- a sort of voting situation. But once the threshold is reached, then everyone demands to do whatever it is

Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible.

Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower.

Technology is anything that wasn't around when you were born.

The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Really smart people with reasonable funding can do just about anything that doesn't violate too many of Newton's Laws.

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.

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 Internet was done so well that most people think of it as a natural resource like the Pacific Ocean, rather than something that was man-made. When was the last time a technology with a scale like that was so error-free? The Web, in comparison, is a joke. The Web was done by amateurs.

The protean nature of the computer is such that it can act like a machine or like a language to be shaped and exploited.

Categories: Alan Kay, Quotes of the day


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