Quotable Quote

Published: February 17th, 2004

I thought you might enjoy this quote from John J. Hughes’ Bits, Bytes & Biblical Studies (Zondervan, 1987, p. 5):

A computer can do nothing unless its task is explicitly defined not only in a logical fashion but in a way that turns every step of the task into a logical operation that the machine can perform by using its logic circuits. Computers do everything “by the book.” They never operate intuitively. They do not know how to take shortcuts. They are not creative. You cannot delegate a task to them and expect them to figure out how to do it, unless that ability has been designed into the program the computer is running. Computers are tireless, perfectly obedient, incredibly fast, and never bored, but they are stupid. They cannot even tell you the
time of day unless you have given them a program that instructs them in a step-by-step way how to do that. Computers have prodigious memories and powerful brains, but they have no minds.”

Hughes’ work has been out of print for a long time, but this little paragraph is certainly as applicable today as it was when it was first penned. I would add one thing: Computers never make mistakes, but programmers and users do! After all, making mistakes is an inherently human trait.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2004 at 8:26 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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