Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Christopher Alexander and Software Design

"I'm probably speaking out of turn here but, you know, I've thumbed through the proceedings of this conference, for instance. Jim was kind enough to show it to me yesterday. I don't really see discussion about What, collectively, are computer scientists supposed to be doing with all these programs. How are they supposed to help the Earth? And, yet, the capacity to do that is sitting right here in this room. That is an amazing situation. You have so much power.… but that means that you also have an enormous responsibility.

Is there a chance you might take on the responsibility for influencing, shaping, and changing the environment.


What I am proposing here is something a little bit different from that. It is a view of programming as the natural genetic infrastructure of a living world which you/we are capable of creating, managing, making available, and which could then have the result that a living structure in our towns, houses, work places, cities, becomes an attainable thing. That would be remarkable. It would turn the world around, and make living structure the norm once again, throughout society, and make the world worth living in again.

This is an extraordinary vision of the future, in which computers play a fundamental role in making the world -- and above all the built structure of the world -- alive, humane, ecologically profound, and with a deep living structure. "

The Origins of Pattern Theory the Future of the Theory, And The Generation of a Living World by Christopher Alexander, October 1996