Christine Dodrill - Blog - Contact - Gallery - Resume - Talks | GraphViz - When Then Zen

The Gears and The Gods

If there are any gods in computing, they are the authors of compilers. The output of compilers is treated as a Heavenly Decree, sometimes used for many sprints or even years after the output has been last emitted.

People trust this output to be Correct. To tell the machine what to do and by its will it be done. The compiler is itself a factory of servitors, each bound by the unholy runes inscribed into it in order to make the endless sequence of lights change colors in the right patterns.

The output of the work of the Gods is stored for later use when their might is needed. The work of the Gods however is a very fickle beast. Their words of power only make the gears turn when they are built with very specific gearing.

This means that people who rely on these sacred runes have to chain themselves to gearing patterns. Each year new ways of tricking the gears to run faster are developed. The ways the gears turn can be learned to be abused however to spill the secrets other gears are crunching on. These gearing patterns haven’t seen any real fundamental design changes in decades, because you never know when the output of the Old Gods is needed.

This means that the gears themselves are the chains that bind people to the past. The gears of computation. The gears made of sand we tricked into thinking with lightning.

But now the gears show their age. The gearing on the side of the gearing on the side of the gearing on the side of the gearing shows its ugly head.

But the Masses never question it. Even though they take hit after hit to performance of the gears.

What there needs to be is some kind of Apocalypse, a revealing of the faults in the gears. Maybe then the Masses will start to question their blind loyalty and chains binding them to the gears. Maybe they would be able to even try other gear patterns.

But this is just fantasy, nobody would WILLINGLY change the gearing patterns.

Would they?

But what about the experience they’ve come to expect from their old gears? Where they could swap out inputs to the gears with ease. Where the Output of the Gods of old still functions.

There needs to be a Better Way to switch gearings. But this kind of solution isn’t conducive to how people use the gears. People use the gears they do because they don’t care. They just want things to work “like they expect it to” and ignore things that don’t feed this addiction.

And THIS is why I’m such a big advocate for WebAssembly on the server. This lets you take the output of the Gods and store it in a way that it can be transparently upgraded to new sets of gearing. So that the future and the past can work in unison instead of being enemies.

Now, all that’s left is to build a bridge. A bridge that will help to unite the past, the present and the future into a woven masterpiece of collaborative cocreation. Where the output of the gods is a weaker chain to the gears of old and can easily be adapted to the gears of new. Even the gears that nobody’s even dreamed of yet.


This article was posted on 2019 M11 14. Facts and circumstances may have changed since publication. Please contact me before jumping to conclusions if something seems wrong or unclear.

Tags: #wasm #philosophy #gods