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JM Coetzee quote

Over the weekend, I read the book "Youth: Scenes from a Provincial Life II," by JM Coetzee, 2003 Nobel Laurate in literature, and former IBM employee.

Here are a couple of paragraphs that touched me:

"Is this indifference to the world a consequence of too much intercourse with machines that give the appearance of thinking? How would he fare if one day he were to quit the computer industry and rejoin civilized society? After spending his best energies for so long on games with machines, would he be able to hold his own in conversation? Is there anything he would have gained from years with computers? Would he not at least have learned to think logically? Would logic not by then have become his second nature?

He would like to believe so, but he cannot. Finally he has no respect for any version of thinking that can be embodied in a computer's circuitry. The more he has to do with computing, the more it seems to him like chess: a tight little world defined by made-up rules, one that sucks in boys of a certain temperament and turns them half-crazy, as he is half-crazy, so that all the time they deludedly think they are playing the game, the game is in fact playing them.

the real blank
Monday, January 26, 2004

That really hits a cord.  I have to say that computing fits my narrow mind perfectly though.

Colin Newell
Monday, January 26, 2004

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