Bret Victor’s talk | Inventing on principle

Bret Victor – Inventing on Principle from CUSEC on Vimeo.

I got a forward from one of my peers a month ago. Even though the video is just an hour long I was putting this away for a weekend. After watching this video I realized that I made a mistake of putting this away for a long time. This talk definitely made me think every problem differently. Bret Victor has also come up with reactive documents, he believes that most of what we do with computers were designed to be done on paper and we are not using the power of electronics.

Some of the quotes I captured from the talk in my own words.

When you have to compile, run and see what you have built chances are high that you won’t discover that a shimmering effect can be provided by just changing the radius of a circle. 

If the feedback loop is longer; thinking something and seeing it much later does not bring any connection.

If creater needs to know about time, then need to know how to control time.

When we write program for the computer to do, why are we simulating in the head what a computer should do; instead ask the computer to do.

The languages were designed when there was batching through punched cards. No one wrote a program and was able to immediately see the output.

Ideas are precious, seeing an idea die hurts

One of my peers sent the following to my team as his take away from the talk.

Injustice, responsibility, moral wrong.. these are not the words we normally hear in technical field. We hear these in association with social causes. So things like censorship, gender discrimination, environmental destruction.. we all recognize these things as moral wrong. Most of us won’t see a civil rights violation and think that it is an opportunity. I hope not. Instead, we have been fortunate to have people throughout history who recognize these social wrongs and sought as their responsibility to address them. So this activist lifestyle where a person dedicates themselves to fighting for a cause they believe in. And the purpose of this talk is to tell you that activist lifestyle is not just for social issues. As a technologist, you can recognize wrong in the world. You can have a vision of a better world to be. You can dedicate yourself to fight for that principle. Social activist fight typically by organizing, you can fight by inventing.

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