Friday, July 08, 2005

A Simple Complexity Paradox

As in all other parts of life, what is simple is often seen as being complex (is that really all it takes??) and what is complex is often seen as being simple (you only have to do the root of the integral and the obfuscate the wangenstien...). The great problem is of course knowing when you are stuck in this paradox. Computers are certainly complex machines and they can be simplified quite a bit, but regardless of the simplification, they will have a certain layer of complexity (part of the transactional distance) that needs to be penetrated and regardless of how it is approached, the first time this layer is tackled it will take time. If computing is to become ubiquitous, one of the things that needs to happen is that people need to understand that the complexity involved with these systems will never really go away. At best it will be masked and hidden temporarily, even on my beloved Mac (check out the Chris Howard article). I had a good chance to see this paradox face to face this week with several events at work and at home. And the picture of the week seems to get it all in one stroke. The dragonfly is an amazingly complex insect, but seems to have a very simple life - hang out at the pond and eat, mate, repeat until dead. (the pic is small - if you want a larger one, please let me know).